Celebrating the future opening to the public at the Mosaic Preschool were Nate Blackford, Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville president; Megan Jennings, St. Francis Hospital Foundation development director; Rachael Martin, Maryville mayor; Greg McDanel, Maryville city manager; Jeff Stubblefield, Maryville Parks & Recreation director; and Pradnya Patet, Mosaic Child Care & Education Center director.

The Mosaic Preschool & Education Center, in partnership with Maryville Parks & Recreation and the City of Maryville, has announced the opening of the barrier-free/inclusive playground on the grounds of Mosaic Preschool & Education Center to the public on August 3.

The playground will be for the center’s use only during regular business hours of 6:30 am to 6:30 pm and will open to the public from 6:30 pm to sunset, Monday through Friday, and from sunrise to sunset on weekends.

“This partnership is just one of many ways Mosaic Medical Center is working to help continue to make this community a great place to live,” Nate Blackford, president of Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville, said. “We look forward to seeing many families, of all abilities, enjoying this space.”

Barrier-free playgrounds make play accessible for all abilities. Modifications are made to the play equipment, walking surfaces and other equipment in the playground to allow children living with a disability to play alongside children who aren’t living with a disability. An inclusive playground takes away the barriers to exclusion, both physical and social, providing a “sensory-rich” play experience for all.

“With this agreement, Maryville and surrounding communities have a truly ‘Fun for All’ accessible playground for children of all ages and abilities,” Jeff Stubblefield, MPR director, said. “MPR looks forward to a wonderful partnership with Mosaic that will help provide our area with many health benefits.”

The playground was largely funded through grants from MPR through Missouri Parks & Recreation Association, Maryville Host Lions and Maryville Pride Lions through Lions Club International Foundation, and Michael Baumgartner.

“When we began to raise funds for the new preschool and child care center, we didn’t have funds appropriated for the playground,” Megan Jennings, development director for the St. Francis Hospital Foundation, said. “We developed a partnership with Maryville Parks and Recreation, and really began to dream about what this space could provide not only to the child care center, but to the nearly 400 children living in Nodaway County with a disability. Thanks to the generosity of many other organizations and individuals, the dream became a reality.”

The barrier-free, inclusive playground is the first of its kind in Maryville, with the closest other option being the Campus Family YMCA in St. Joseph.  This public play space which is open on evenings and weekends only, joins the 10 other public parks in Maryville operated by MPR.

“Parks are critical to the quality of life for all Maryville citizens,” Greg McDanel, Maryville city manager, said. “This agreement is a perfect example of how partnerships can literally eliminate barriers in our community. Thank you to all of those involved for making this a reality.”

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