Ryder Park Inclusive Playground

An exciting community playground is underway in Grand Island

This project was the conceptualization of Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program students. Their passion has led to this community project that will provide a place where all can play.

To give a gift or for more information, contact the Central Community College Foundation at 402-460-2151 or email foundation@cccneb.edu. Pledge cards are available or you can give directly online (please specify that the gift is for the ‘Playground’).

Encouraging Play Amongst All

Our community is diverse. We should have a place for everyone to come together, interact and play. The Ryder Park Inclusive Playground Project offers a multigenerational, inclusive play destination that encourages play for everyone. Inclusive playgrounds provide opportunities for varying skill levels and challenges for individuals coming to play, while encouraging play amongst all. This innovative project was the concept of students attending Central Community College in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. Their passion drove the inclusive design and led to approval from a group of community leaders and the Grand Island City Council.

  • Inclusive Play - Designed to minimalize physical and social barriers to play, a variety of opportunities will be present to play and explore with peers, neighbors, and family regardless of background or ability.
  • Challenging and Engaging Play Structure - Fun, creative playground equipment that fosters learning at various levels through cooperative and imaginative play.
  • Enhanced Experiences - Provides opportunities for children of all abilities to experience sensory-rich play through tactile, auditory, visual, quiet, and physical activities.
  • Community Interaction - Centrally located in Grand Island's Ryder Park making it an easy destination for individuals of all backgrounds and abilities to make new friends, take turns, interact with others, and build new relationships.
Access for the Future

The Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) students at Central Community College (CCC) were challenged to come up with a community project that would impact individuals who are unable to fully participate in activities of daily life due to physical or psychological limitations. The OTA students collaborated, coming up with an idea that will leave a lasting impact on the Grand Island community, an inclusive playground. The design includes a variety of active opportunities from imaginative play to adventure play to musical play.

It is anticipated this project will create a space where future programs, summer camps, and activities can take place. This also provides opportunities for future CCC OTA students to work with individuals in a space that is both fun and educational for everyone.

Accessible Location

This playground will be an asset for the community of Grand Island for years to come. The playground will be located in Ryder Park, which is centrally located in Grand Island off the Highway 281-corridor making it an easy destination for family fun.

The location was chosen after consideration of several locations throughout Grand Island. Ryder Park offers several amenities currently, including multiple baseball/softball fields, tennis courts, and picnic shelters. The park’s central location is within walking and biking distance for many who may not have access to transportation. The park is in a diverse area that includes single-family homes, multi-family dwellings, business and industry, Head Start, and Mosaic.

Connecting Multiple Abilities through Play

Play is a child’s work. All children learn, grow, and develop through play, improving their physical, cognitive, and social skills. An inclusive playground incorporates physical, cognitive, social, sensory, and communicative elements to enhance the play of children who have different abilities and aims to remove many barriers that limit their experiences.

According to the US Census Bureau, over 3 million children under the age of 18 have some type of disability (physical, auditory, visual, cognitive, or ambulatory). This means nearly 1 out of every 25 children face some challenge as they learn, play, and interact with others.

This playground was intentionally designed to provide opportunities for all ages and abilities to play and interact as a community together. At over 27,000 sq. ft, it will be filled with fun creative playground equipment that will foster learning through imaginative play. Opportunities to experience sensory-rich play will be accessible for all ages and abilities. The playground also includes zones and equipment for different age groups ensuring equipment is engaging for the smallest child to the child at heart. All children can play together with their peers, neighbors, and family.

Destination Grand Island

Ryder Park is an upcoming area of Grand Island with several projects that will enhance the area and making it a destination for the local community members as well as visitors. The Grand Island Children’s Museum is developing the old Armory building adjacent to Ryder Park. The close proximity of the Children’s Museum to Ryder Park and the new inclusive playground will enhance the experience of individuals to the area. With the central location combined with the existing Ryder Park amenities, the Children’s Museum, and the Inclusive Playground, this area will become a destination for many.

I was so thrilled to hear about an inclusive playground being built in our community. This playground is going to be something truly special. I never imagined it would be possible for my daughter Karsyn to be able to zipline or ride a merry-go-round with her two older siblings. The inclusive playground will provide that and more. It makes my heart happy to know children like Karsyn will get to share in the fun alongside their peers. This is such an exciting project that will benefit the entire community.

- Katie Soto

Soto Family
Aerial Ryder Park Preliminary Design

Inclusive Playground at Ryder Park Budget

Creative Sites-Equipment $540,920
Creative Sites-Installation $332,077
Creative Sites-Surfacing $273,960
Maintenance Endowment  $250,000
Contingency and Related Expenses $103,043
Total $1,500,000
Concept to Reality

Concept to Reality 

A committee of community members, area leaders, members from Central Community College, and city officials was formed to move this project forward. The committee’s goal is to raise $1.5 million dollars for the construction of the playground and a maintenance endowment. The CCC Foundation is working with the committee to raise funds and pledges by the end of 2022 to complete this community project. The estimate for the playground equipment and construction is $1,146,997. The $250,000 endowment will be held with the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation for use by Grand Island Parks and Recreation to assist in playground maintenance.

By supporting this project, you will benefit a diverse group of individuals and the wider Grand Island community. Gifts of all sizes are welcomed as every dollar will work together to make this playground a reality. Naming opportunities are available. If you are interested in a naming opportunity, please contact Cheri Beda or Jessica Rohan at the CCC Foundation, 402-460-2151. Thank you for helping to provide a sensory-rich environment that enables children to develop physically, socially, and emotionally. 

Gift Recognition

Gift Recognition

Donors will be recognized in a program during the playground ribbon cutting. Donors over $5,000 will be recognized on signage at the entrances to the playground. The playground project will showcase donors based upon gift level. 


Preliminary Design

There are no items to display.

Playground Equipment

There are no items to display.