The first outdoor adaptive use playground for children with differing abilities in northern Westchester will be built in Yorktown, thanks to a $250,000 grant secured by State Senator Peter Harckham (D/40th District).
The project, announced Friday at Granite Knolls Park in Shrub Oak, was initiated from a phone call in May by Yorktown resident Lisa Canniff, whose three-year-old son, Lucas, became paralyzed from a blood clot in his spine when he was one year old.
“Everyone in town has been very supportive,” said Canniff, who noted she has had to travel to Fishkill for Lucas to use a similar playground. “We’re just so excited that this will give everyone a place to play together.”
An adaptive use playground is built with a focus on wheelchair, ADA accessible and multisensory, developmentally friendly equipment, where children of all abilities can play together. The playground at Granite Knolls Park, which likely won’t be ready for use until the spring, will feature age and developmentally inclusive equipment that is sensory stimulating and universally designed.
It is the third project funded by Harckham to make children’s venues more accessible and inclusive. Earlier this summer, he announced a $15,000 grant to the Yorktown Community Nursery School to make walkways and entrances ADA compliant and a $25,000 grant to the Lakeland School District for an indoor playground at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School for special needs students.
“I am tremendously grateful to Senator Harckham and Senate Majority Leader (Andrea) Stewart-Cousins for procuring this grant to enable the construction of an Adaptive Use Playground at the Granite Knolls Park,” said Yorktown Supervisor Ilan Gilbert. “This will enable all children to enjoy the facilities with accessible play options and an appropriate rubberized tile surface in the play area. It is anticipated this will inspire children of all abilities and allow them to play together. This addition will further enhance our outstanding Granite Knolls facility.”
“Supervisor Gilbert and the Yorktown Recreation Commission and Parks Department believe, as I do, that we are stronger when everyone has an equal opportunity to participate,” said Harckham. “When this project is completed, all children from northern Westchester will finally have a playground they can call home.”