For years, the participants at Lincolnway Special Recreation Association traveled to different parks to use ADA accessible playground equipment.
Now they and other New Lenox residents will have one in LWSRA’s backyard at the Leigh Creek South property in the Heather Glen subdivision.
The New Lenox Community Park District was awarded a $400,000 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant in February 2019. The park district paid $400,000 and LWSRA contributed $200,000 from fundraising efforts.
“This is going to be in our backyard and expand the level of programming offerings and take us to the next level,” LWSRA Executive Director Keith Wallace said. “The playground is going to be inclusive with a universal design. The bottom line is that everyone can come and play on it.”
The park offers unique ADA playground equipment including a “we-go-round,” a “we-saw,” and a zip-line. It also offers a new ball field, basketball complex, fitness pods, a bocce court, bags toss and other walking paths.
The we-saw is like a see-saw, but has a bucket seat and a strap so a child in a wheelchair can use it. The we-go-round is like a merry-go-round at ground level that allows a wheelchair to roll into it.
LWSRA and the new park being in a neighborhood has helped it get more exposure to the rest of the town.
“That’s the beauty of being in a neighborhood,” Wallace said. “They’re seeing it get built and post about it. If you look at the Facebook page, there’s comments from participants, families and friends. They’re really excited.”
NLCPD Recreation Supervisor Becky Tilton said each year the park district reviews internal ways they can provide more to the community whether it is events, programs or parks. The OSLAD Grant is one given out annually.
Tilton said there is not a set date for the park to open, but it is getting close to being ready for use. Wallace posted on Facebook Oct. 6 that the playground equipment was put in and on Oct. 9 that the surfacing was going in.
Wallace posted a video of staff members using the zipline, which he and Tilton both said they’re most excited for.
“It’s been great partnering with LWSRA and creating a more universal playground that is all inclusive,” Tilton said. “It’s a great opportunity. LWSRA has been here for years, this subdivision is up and coming.
“LWSRA has done a lot for our community and the Chicago southland. Now, other special recs can visit the park.”
Follow LWSRA on Facebook to stay up to date with the park’s progression.