MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) –  One of Marquette’s premier parks is getting a significant upgrade. Ground was finally broken for Kids Cove, the new playground at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette. On hand Tuesday for a groundbreaking ceremony were civic leaders, parks and recreation officials, and members of the Playground for All committee.

The new Kids Cove Playground has been in the planning stages for the past 10 years and is needed to replace the 27-year-old current playground which has reached the end of its useful life. In addition, the current playground is out of safety code for modern playground design, and it’s also falling apart due to rotten boards and outdated materials.

Kids Cove will have a rubberized floor, the ability for parents and guardians to see their children at all times with no blind zones, and modern equipment that will accommodate and challenge disabled children as well as those less challenged all in the same space.  Chairperson for the Playground for All Committee, Nheena Weyer Ittner says the beauty of the new playground is in its inclusiveness.

“It will be a place where every child, every ability can play together and be challenged,” said Ittner. “We’re talking about kids in wheelchairs playing with able-bodied kids who like to climb to the sky. They will all be challenged in this playground. The difference is as they don’t have to be separated. You don’t have one piece for the kids that have are in wheelchairs or disabilities. The other is another piece for kids who are able-bodied this one will combine everything. What that means is that every single child will be able to play together, they’ll be able to laugh together, they’ll be able to grow friendships together, and most more importantly than anything, all of their differences will finally kind of melt away.”

The old playground officially closed Tuesday at noon, with demolition and site preparation beginning immediately and lasting until winter halts work for the season. Construction of the new playground will commence in the spring with a projected opening in July. Funding for Kids Cove came from a substantial DNR grant and donations from the community. For more information, click here.