Volunteers in York County Pennsylvania build a new accessible playground

Hundreds of volunteers built a new accessible playground in Manchester Township, PA from May 18 through May 23, 2010.   A grand opening for the park is scheduled for June.  The community group, Inspiring H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Play Equally) have worked for over three years to make this new playground a reality.  Their goal was to create a community-build, barrier-free playground that allows children who cannot walk, see or hear to have a place to play alongside children who can.

The nearly 5,000 elementary and middle school-aged children from York County who have sensory, physical, or mental disabilities and needed a place to play safely with equipment designed for their abilities, now have that place. The new playground serves the children with disabilities and parents who have disabilities who cannot maneuver around other playgrounds because of barriers as well as people without disabilities.

The committee decided to work with Leathers and Associates who has built three other universally accessible playgrounds in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania. Design Day, the first major project, was held on October 16, 2008. Students from Hayshire and Sinking Springs Elementary Schools shared ideas for their dream playground with the designer from Leather & Associates. A community celebration, attended by political officials, Communities That Care members, parents, children, interested community members, and the media, was held to unveil the schematic drawing for the future playground and to discuss the community build process.

The drawing was then reviewed by occupational and physical therapists from Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, Margaret Moul Home., and Easter Seals, as well as community members Carl Jacobs, owner of Shiloh Nursery in Manchester and Don Fisher, owner of Peak Mobility in Spry. They all possess years of experience either working with people with disabilities or design phases of projects for families with disabilities. Additionally, Milestones Achievement Center, a school in York County for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, provided input.

The playground includes accessible rubber playground surface, ramps accessible swings , an elevated , activities on the railings, quiet areas and much more. Inspiring H.O.P.E.playground is located at1060 Church Road off Church and Greenbrier roads and is 13,000-square-foot. For more information visit http://www.inspiringhopeyork.org/

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