Like many towns, there is not a truly public playground for children with exceptional needs, let alone adults. There is a single wheel chair accessible swing, twenty minutes away, and then of course larger towns.
How fitting is it to return an inclusive area of play to the site of a former school! Hawthorne Park is a city park that houses a world-class horseshoe pit but nothing for the kids. Working with the Clinton Parks & Recreation, the club wants to transform the centrally located park into a hub for all of our children to complement Clinton's amazing parks.
It’s not just children though, as we have great adult services in the area that visit our parks and attractions. This is a life changing amenity for generations. And this goal is part of a larger community wide investment by the City of Clinton and the Parks & Rec. The problem is with so many parks all receiving upgrades, our city needs our help to ratchet up the impact and serve everyone and all modalities.
When it comes to inclusiveness, numbers can paint a picture, but what moved our club is the thought of just one kid sitting on the edge of a playground watching their peers playing. Seeing that picture made us realize the inherent need.
Even if that one child was the only child with an exceptional need, we as a community owe it to that one child. Related, why Hawthorne? Clinton is a town of parks, and Hawthorne provides a location that allows families with limited to no transportation to be able to partake in the playground, plus it is flat—a rarity in Clinton.
But like with our weekly programs, we as a club are weekly reminded of all the negative metrics that can paint a huge need, and they are true... But together we are improving and we want to focus on the agency and effort to create healthy living. Negative stats just create negative attitudes.
So when the Park & Rec shared their plan, our club wanted to do our part to help ratchet up this parks impact. The Park has $100,000 committed, and this playground can cost between $150,000 and $200,000 depending on ground cover and just how many manipulatives for how many modalities- as it isn’t just wheelchair access but neurodiversity as well. This playground is getting an upgrade to be inclusive; but with our commitment, this playground can provide the inclusive, all public playground in the heart of our community.