Congressman Brian Higgins and City of Niagara Falls officials on Tuesday opened the Hyde Park Inclusionary Playground. The new play space was designed for children of all mobility and behavioral abilities. It gained community support via the Niagara Falls Community Development Department’s participatory budgeting process.
“Each family faces unique challenges. This inclusionary playground, a product of public-driven community development, is a place that builds community where everyone, regardless of the struggles they face, is welcome to fun and friendship,” Higgins said.
The playground features equipment that is built to accommodate wheelchairs as well as ground-level tactile features designed for special developmental needs.
“The City of Niagara Falls is committed to all residents, and this project is meant to send a clear message of inclusion to our entire community,” Mayor Paul Dyster said.
The Hyde Park Inclusionary Playground project was made possible by a diverse funding coalition and did not require the use of local taxpayer dollars. Grant awards from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from the New York State Health Foundation, the John R. Oishei Foundation in partnership with the Niagara Falls City School District, and the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation made park construction possible.
“All children benefit from play. Thanks to our funders, we were able to create a special place for children and families that are often, and sadly, left behind,” said Seth Piccirillo, director of the Niagara Falls Community Development Department.
The Inclusionary Playground is located directly next to the larger play space installed three years ago in Hyde Park, off the intersection of Robbins Drive and Pine Avenue.