The Town of Yorktown has received a $250,000 grant to build the first adaptive playground for children of all abilities in northern Westchester.
The playground at Granite Knolls in Shrub Oak is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will include swings, slides, and jungle gyms. Construction is expected to begin in September. Adaptive playgrounds have accessible play gear for children with or without disabilities.
“Yorktown is an inclusive and diverse community, so we must accommodate residents of all abilities. Public parks are for everyone, and this adaptive playground will be particularly valuable for our residents who may be mobility impaired,” Supervisor Matt Slater said in a press release.
The playgrounds are designed to allow disabled caregivers and wheelchair users to enter the playground and supervise children or partake in play.
“The inclusion of all children at this park is one of the greatest features of Granite Knolls,” said Councilman Ed Lachterman. “To steal a line from Field of Dreams, it is ‘the place where dreams come true’ for many of our mobility impaired children.”
Funding for the new park comes from a State Aid to Municipalities grant announced by state Senator Peter Harckham in 2019. Yorktown received the grant disbursement agreement for the funds earlier this month.
Also last month, Harckham and his Senate colleagues approved special legislation that will allow the Town of Yorktown to use property at Granite Knolls Park for the construction of a solar power facility and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
“The interaction of play provides the foundation not only for fun and learning but for compassion and teamwork, which is something no child should be denied,” said Town Clerk Diana Quast. “This playground will bring a play environment to our community where children of all abilities can play and grow together in the spirit of fun, exercise, and comradery.”
Yorktown is currently upgrading safety at many of its playgrounds. The Chelsea Park Playground was demolished this month to make way for replacement equipment that will enhance the town’s girls’ softball program.
Recreation officials will also perform a safety audit later this year at Downing Park, Ivy Knolls Park, Blackberry Woods Park, Deer Hollow Park, Hanover East Park, Kensington Woods Park, Shrub Oak Park and Veterans Park.