Thornton Park in Ottawa renovations continue, city opts for rubber mats in playground

Rubber mats allow park to be ADA compliant

The playground at Thornton Park in Ottawa will have a rubber floor surrounding it instead of the usual tree bark after a push from the City Council to ensure the city parks are ADA compliant.

Mayor Dan Aussem said he realized while taking his grandson to the park those who are handicapped have one choice for a park in Ottawa, and that’s something the city would like to rectify while it is in the process of renovating parks.

The mats from NuToy will cost a total of $67,705, with $42,000 coming from the playground and recreation fund and $22,705 covered by grant money.

“It’s a kind of rubber surface,” Aussem said. “So now kids in wheelchairs will be able to enjoy the new playground the same as everyone else.”

Thornton Park renovations are made possible by a $558,239 Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant, and the project’s original deadline was August 2022. The City Council amended that deadline at the last city council meeting, although the project still is expected to be finished on time.

The new improvements include a splash pad, new playground equipment, refurbished tennis courts, two pickleball courts, a basketball court and rehabilitation work on the shelter. There also will be improvements to the plaza, a game table, a bags set and the existing dolphin and turtle structures will be moved to an art walk adjacent to the playground. The project initially was slated to finish in July 2021.