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April 4, 2020

2/19/2020 10:46:00 AM
Plans for all-inclusive playground at park moving forward
Daily News

Even though it's arrival is in the distant future, the Robinson City Park will welcome any aid in the development of its newest attraction.

During a city council meeting last month, plans to advertise for bids for a new all-inclusive playground were approved.

Parks and Recreation Superintendent Mike Shimer told the Daily News that the playground will be installed south of the current playground on the east side of the park.

A sign signifying the future of the playground is expected to be erected very soon.

Shimer said that children of all ages and abilities will be able to find something enjoyable when partaking in its offered activities.

"There's expected to be slides, climbers and ramps," Shimer said. "Any child regardless of age or skill will find something to enjoy."

Inclusive playgrounds have been important additions to parks nationally, especially for children with disabilities. They integrate all senses and encourage social play, self confidence and provide an area for social development.

Inclusive play doesn't mean that every element of play is accessible to everyone, but it does mean that the combination of play experiences adds to something that is equally great for each child. Ramps and accessible surfaces can make the equipment navigable for handicapped children

Bids for the new playground are being sought, but Shimer said he would welcome any beneficial fundraiser in helping to bring it to the park. The parks department has seen its fair share of fundraisers in recent years. Community events helped raise funds needed to create Harmony Park, which became part of Washington Park in 2016.

The anticipated three year project was able to wrap up fairly quickly that year thanks to generous private and corporate donations. The Robinson Kiwanis Club spearheaded the Harmony project, which brought the 12 instruments to Washington.

"It's always good to have help," Shimer said.

At this time there is no such area of recreational experience available in Crawford County which provides a source of recreation for all abilities in a centralized location.

Although there is not an anticipated opening date for the playground, Shimer said it's possible it could begin later this year.

"Hopefully around mid-summer if we get the funding quickly," Shimer said.

There are several ways to the public to get in involved in the project, including creating a fund raiser, making a donation and requesting a speaker for your group or organization to garner interest.

It is expected that the parks staff will see to the construction of the playground, but volunteers who wish to help may also join in.

Large or small, any funding can make this dream of a project become reality.

Contact the Robinson Park Department at (618) 544-3834 if you have interest in laying the groundwork for what will be the first safe haven where children of all ages can play together regardless of interests and abilities.

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