Orchard Meadows to be transformed into inclusive playground, additional benefits for people with disabilities
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs announced he secured $75,000 in state funding that will enable the Town of Orchard Park to continue improvements that will transform the Orchard Meadows Playground into the town's first modern-day "inclusive" playground.
"The Town of Orchard Park and its Recreation Department are committed to restoring their playgrounds and improving recreational opportunities for all families, and in every neighborhood in the town," Jacobs said. "I was very pleased to secure this funding to renovate Orchard Meadows into an inclusive playground that will enhance the quality of life for residents of all ages, particularly those with disabilities."
"We are making great progress in modernizing the playgrounds in our five parks so we can improve the recreational experience for children and families across Orchard Park," Supervisor Patrick Keem said. "Thanks to this grant funding from Sen. Jacobs, we can significantly upgrade and improve the quality of playground equipment provided for young people of all ages and ability."
The project will consist of the excavation of the new play area and the installation of specifically designed and certified inclusive play equipment. Inclusive play structures help young people develop fine and gross motor skills, improve receptive communication, aid in the development of cerebral functions and increase physical strength while working on coordination and balance. Studies have proven that inclusive playgrounds have a significant positive impact on the physical and mental well-being of children with disabilities.
"Playground Horizons 2018 had allowed the Recreation Department to facilitate the most significant upgrade initiative of its neighborhood playgrounds in the town's history, and the results have been a tremendous success throughout all five parks," Recreation Director Ed Leak said. "Now, Sen. Jacobs' assistance will allow us to extend our momentum through Playground Horizons 2019, and we are very grateful for his support and commitment."
The second phase of improvements at Orchard Meadows will begin in the spring of 2019 and should be completed by early summer.