ASTORINO UNVEILS DESIGNS FOR A UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE PLAYGROUND
County Executive Robert P. Astorino today unveiled designs for a universally accessible playground at Ridge Road Park in Greenburgh as part of the county’s ongoing commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The designs were presented as more than 500 people gathered for a Miracle League Halloween celebration at the county’s universally accessible baseball field for people with disabilities.
“All kids deserve the opportunity to be kids, and few things are more a part of childhood than playing on the playground,” Astorino said. “We are so excited about our new universally accessible playground because it removes barriers to having fun. The fact that it’s right next to our Miracle League baseball field makes it a true homerun for kids and families.”
The new playground includes many of the same exciting elements as a traditional playground – such as twisty slides, climbing structures and swings – however this playground is fully accessible to people of all physical abilities. For instance, a wheelchair ramp provides access all the way to the top of the structure; the swings are specially designed for children with disabilities ages 2 through 12; and the surrounding surface is made of poured-in-place rubber surfacing to ensure safety and accessibility.
For children like 12-year-old Spencer Oram, who was injured during childbirth and has been in a wheelchair his entire life, the experience of looking out from the top of the playground will be something his mother says is like a dream come true.
“He’s going to go crazy,” said Elizabeth Oram, of Golden’s Bridge. “He’s a real boy. He loves going fast in his wheelchair. He loves spinning. I can’t even tell you how exciting this is going to be for him.”
Spencer doesn’t speak, so he won’t be able to tell his mother this himself. But she understands him completely, as any mother understands her son. Spencer’s twin sister, Emma, has a harder time relating. But that’s the beauty of the universally accessible and inclusive playground; it will be a place where the two of them can play, laugh and enjoy each other’s company just like any other brother and sister.
“I’m so happy for them to be able to share this,” Elizabeth Oram said. “My daughter really wants to connect with him, but it’s hard for her. She will love pushing him to the top.”
In addition to the new playground, the project also calls for upgrades throughout the 236-acre park, including repaving the park’s roadways and parking areas, as well as renovations to the picnic areas, playgrounds, volleyball courts and pavilions. The installation of storage bins and a maintenance shed, improved drainage and new pathways and landscaping are also part of the proposed upgrades.
The total project is projected to cost $3.45 million, $325,000 of which was already bonded for design work. Astorino on Monday will send legislation to the Board of Legislators requesting that they approve an additional bond act to fund the cost of construction and renovations. Once funding is secured and contracts are awarded through a competitive bid process, the project is expected to take 12 months to complete. Design work for the project has been prepared by the county’s Department of Planning.
“Ridge Road Park is a sprawling county park with a wide range of amenities for people and families to enjoy all year long,” said Kathleen O’Connor, Commissioner of the county’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, which oversees maintenance and upkeep of the property. “These renovations – especially the repaving of the park’s roadways – will go a long way towards enhancing the park experience.”
County Executive Robert P. Astorino presents plans for a universally accessible playground at Ridge Road Park in Greenburgh. The Oram family – mother Elizabeth and 12-year-old twins Emma and Spencer – are among the hundreds in attendance who are excited about the project.