Kiwanis Club of Buffalo

All children matter. Yet, not every child can enjoy Chestnut Ridge Park, the largest and most popular park in Erie County’s 10,000-acre park system.
A Playground for All will be the first inclusive play space in an Erie County Park, welcoming children and families of all abilities to interact in inspired, free outdoor play. Located adjacent to the historic casino with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant accessible parking and bathrooms, it is designed to exceed the requirements of the ADA.
Chestnut Ridge Park is Erie County’s largest, oldest and most popular county park famous for majestic views, iconic toboggan runs and natural settings. A year-round regional asset, it attracts more than 250,000 visitors from around the country and the world. A large part of our community cannot enjoy it, however, because there are few spaces that accommodate children with special needs. Most playground equipment in the park is outdated, unsafe and doesn’t meet current accessibility codes.
The largest minority group in the U.S. is people with disabilities. In New York, 17% of school-age kids have disabilities (NYS Dept. of Education). Only 16% of western New York youth get one hour of daily physical activity. Disabled kids get 4.5 times less (Center on Physical Activity and Disability, 2008).
A Playground for All will serve thousands by creating an accessible play space in Chestnut Ridge Park where children of all abilities will be fully included for the first time.

Additional Information

Kiwanis Club of Buffalo, Orchard Park Kiwanis, Niagara Frontier South Division New York District Kiwanis International, American Legion Orchard Park Post 567, Community Services for Every1, Erie County Office for People with Disabilities, Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, Erie County Capital funds, Homes for Autism Foundation, the IDEA Center- State University of New York at Buffalo, Lawley Insurance, Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce, People Inc., Polymer Conversions, Gerald F. and Karen Reger Family Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds/Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Sensational Fun, Inc. State Assembly Pat Burke, and Visit Buffalo Niagara
A Playground for All at Chestnut Ridge Park is expected to cost about $450,000. To date $363,768 has been committed in cash and in-kind contributions. Because of the support of the regional community, we are confident it will be completed by 2021.
Parks are where children make important connections – with family, peers, nature and healthy play. An inclusive playground, based on universal design principles, will make the park available to people of all abilities, including children with special needs. A Playground for All will make Chestnut Ridge Park a place where all are welcome. In a space where everyone can play together, the sensory rich environment enables kids to develop physically, socially and emotionally and engage in inspired play. The play structures will provide experiences that involve movement and balance, proprioceptive challenges for muscle coordination, and a combination of tactile, visual and auditory opportunities. The design includes a main structure for 5 – 12-year olds, a smaller structure for 2 – 5-year olds, and other free-standing elements that encourage physical activity and socialization. Surfacing materials will allow for ease of access for any mobility devices, while meeting all safety and regulatory requirements. The main structure has a variety of play experiences and several entrance points for children using wheelchairs or walkers. The structure for younger children is designed to develop balance and coordination skills. Free standing elements shared by all ages include a collection of swings, spinners, We-saws (an adaptive seesaw) and areas for quiet play, where children can explore music, colors, letters and numbers, all of which supports sensory and cognitive development. A Playground for All welcomes all children, of all abilities, at all stages of development and all levels of engagement to Erie County’s most popular park, Chestnut Ridge. Erie County Parks Department will keep this wonderful addition in good repair as part of the regular Chestnut Ridge maintenance regimen. All sponsors, including Kiwanians, will keep an eye on it as it is used daily throughout the year.