Ryde Community Co-op, a non-profit in Gravenhurst, will build a 2,900 sq. ft. accessible playground thanks to provincial funding.
According to Marc Mantha, President of Ryde, the park at 1624 Barkway Rd. will feature two slides, four swings, a ride-on digger, and “lots of options for balancing, climbing, and fun with your friends.” He adds he’s hopeful construction will begin next spring. Until then, Mantha says site preparation work will be ongoing.
The volunteer-run group received $90,400 through the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fund.
“Having a space for the Ryde community and neighbouring communities to come together and participate in safe, outdoor activities is a great asset to all those looking to participate in active fun,” says Graydon Smith, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka.
“We are so grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for this grant,” said Mantha. “As an entirely volunteer-run organization, we must fundraise locally and apply for grants for improvements to this former two-room school. Since our membership purchased the property in 2016, our volunteers have worked with great dedication to make necessary upgrades and grow the Co-op into a space that services the current and future needs of our community.”
Mantha says Ryde is pondering another big project: installing a concrete pad on their property to allow for year-round activities. Last winter, he says they installed a 50 by 100 ft. skating rink that turned out to be a “huge success.” Installing a pad would allow them to use it for activities like pickleball, basketball, or shuffleboard in the warmer months and convert it to a skating rink once the snow begins to fall.
That project isn’t getting underway anytime soon, but Mantha says the “tireless” Ryde volunteers and board members are always working in the background to find new grant opportunities, so anything is possible.