BOARDMAN - A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. today for Alex's Playground at Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley Beeghly Campus, 6505 Market St.
JoAnn Stock, director of development with the hospital, said the ceremony officially opens the playground.
She said the Alex's Playground project began as the inspiration of two parents, Allison and Mark Vistein, mourning the loss of their infant son. Alex and his twin brother, Aiden, were born prematurely. Unfortunately, Alex died when he was only six days old.
The Visteins made the initial gift for the project with funds received from family and friends given in memory of Alex. The Visteins wanted to give back to the hospital so that other children of the community could have a place to play and have fun and to create a lasting legacy in memory of Alex.
Stock said the playground will be used by patients in children's inpatient areas as well as those coming to the campus for outpatient services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy and primary pediatric care appointments.
Utilizing universal design concepts, the playground has been designed to accommodate children with wheelchairs, leg braces, crutches and other barriers that usually leave them sidelined at a traditional playground. The new play area will also feature sound and visual stimulation for children with hearing or vision loss.
Stock said funding for the project was received primarily through a grant of $125,000 received from the Hine Memorial Fund of the Youngstown Foundation. Naming opportunities will be available in the playground where donors can contribute towards a block which will be engraved with the name of a special child in their life.
The playground was constructed primarily by community volunteers during a "community build" which took place on Aug. 4 and 5.
Volunteers were from Home Depot, the Aut Mori Grotto, Junior League of Youngstown, Austintown Rotary and Green Building Pros, along with Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley employees and friends and family of the Vistein family.