LAKEWOOD, Ohio – Whether it’s shooting hoops, throwing a Frisbee or drawing chalk art on the sidewalk at Madison Park, visitors can do it their way after touring the new little free cloakroom located in the lively public area of Birdtown.
“The goal here is to ensure that outdoor games and recreation in our park are accessible to everyone, especially children, regardless of their living environment or socio-economic status,” said the President of the Friends of Madison Park, Matt Bixenstine, who lives near the park.
“Last winter, the Friends of Madison Park Board of Directors was brainstorming what kind of special park project we could tackle for 2022. We had a number of ideas, but we kept coming back for inspiration. that we draw from the many great, small and free libraries in our community. We wondered if we could transpose this concept to sporting goods in our park. »
The Madison Park Little Free Locker Room offers a selection of sporting goods available to any park visitor on a first-come, first-served basis.
Items currently available in the locker room include sports balls (soccer, basketball, volleyball, and football), Frisbees, Wiffle ball supplies, bubble wands, sidewalk chalk, and more. An air pump for balls and bicycles is also available on site.
“We hope people will use the articles and then return them,” Bixenstine said. “Of course, we anticipate there will be lost items. That’s why we have stock to replenish as needed.
The Little Free Locker Room, which will remain open until the end of November before reopening in the spring, is located in the center of Madison Park, along the eastern fence of the futsal courts, near the historic ice rink.
“The structure consists of two metal lockers superimposed with a wooden base and a locker,” said Bixenstine. “It’s on a concrete surface, so it stays dry. It’s in a great location as it’s accessible from any part of the park.”
Park visitors are encouraged to use items from the locker room and return them upon completion. Donations of new or lightly used sporting goods can also be left behind by community members.
“So far, we’ve been amazed by the amount of use and the number of smiles we’ve seen on children’s faces,” Bixenstine said. “One of my favorite parts is in the morning seeing all the new chalk art.
“It seems the public is really receptive to it. We look forward to the continued benefits the locker room provides to park visitors this fall and hopefully for years to come.
Founded in the fall of 2020, Friends of Madison Park has a simple mission to advocate on behalf of the park.
“We try to ensure that our park is an exceptional asset,” Bixenstine said. “It’s a pretty broad mission statement. Other things we have undertaken this year include starting a community garden, which is also rewarding.
“Being on the outskirts of the Birdtown kind of neighborhood, there are people from all walks of life. The idea is, once again, to make play and leisure accessible to everyone.
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