April 26, 2010

Kettering Pondview Park, Providing Access for Individuals with Disabilities, Opens Friday, Thanks to Grant

The Dayton Foundation and the City of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department are pleased to announce the grand opening of Kettering’s Pondview Park, the first self-guided environmental park in Ohio designed for people of all abilities to experience and learn about nature. The grand opening celebration is scheduled for Friday, April 30, from noon-1:30 p.m., and is located at 2320 Pondview Drive, Kettering, Ohio, 45440. The event is free and open to the public and will include a cookout with food prepared by Kettering Fire Department personnel.

The park was made possible by a $426,000 Access to Recreation Initiative grant to enhance access and educational experiences for individuals with disabilities. The grant was awarded in 2007 to The Dayton Foundation, in partnership with the Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department, by the Midwest Community Foundations Ventures (MCFV), thanks to funds provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

"It’s very exciting to see this park come to fruition," said Michael M. Parks, president of The Dayton Foundation. "We're very grateful for the combined efforts of all of the organizations involved and to MCFV and W.K. Kellogg Foundation for providing the initial funds that launched this project. Together we are helping to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in our community."

"Kettering is very proud to be associated with this project," said Mayor Don Patterson of the City of Kettering. "The Parks Recreation and Cultural Arts Department is dedicated to making all of our parks and facilities accessible to everyone. This project is an example of the progressive thinking and the innovative approach we take with our park projects."

The Dayton Foundation grant was the largest of four Access to Recreation Initiative grants presented to community foundations in Ohio. A total of $4.5 million was awarded to fourteen community foundations throughout Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.

The City of Kettering provided an additional $334,000 in matching funds towards the new Pondview Park Environmental Learning Center, which encourages families, schools and those with disabilities to learn about and restore nature where they live.

The Environmental Learning Center provides an all-abilities accessible trail system consisting of six learning pods, scenic overlooks and observation points. All materials are environmentally friendly. Where applicable, surfaces were laid on trails to allow fauna and flora to grow, while providing a comfortable and safe surface for individuals using wheelchairs, walkers, canes and strollers. Interpretive panels, experiential stations, tactile displays, universal signage and auditory devices are included, as well as handicapped-accessible parking. A forest-growth learning site, prairie restoration programs and a butterfly garden also enhance the outdoor learning experience. Accessibility features and learning experiences were created to meet or exceed all Americans with Disability Act requirements.

The Dayton Foundation and the City of Kettering convened a 13-member Ohio Access to Recreation Advisory Board that oversaw the project’s planning and design. Members of the Advisory Board include representatives from Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter; Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm; Charles I. Lathrem Seniors Group; Community Services for the Deaf; Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley; Gorman-Hewitt-Ayars Memorial Fund; Kettering Parks Foundation; Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department; Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services; Residents of the City of Kettering; The Dayton Foundation; The Disability Foundation; and United Rehabilitation Services of Greater Dayton.

The Advisory Committee also established The Ohio Access to Recreation Fund, a permanent endowment through The Dayton Foundation, to provide continued funding for park improvements, as well as for programs and services to enhance recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

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File date: 9.17.14

IN THEIR WORDS

Adam Lutynski and Joyce Bowden

“My husband and I chose to establish an unrestricted endowment fund because we felt that The Dayton Foundation is in a better position than we are to monitor our charitable fund and determine where need is greatest.” – Adam M. Lutynski and Joyce M. Bowden, donors

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