All-Inclusive Playground Set To Break Ground In Oak Lawn By September

CHICAGO (CBS) — A playground for kids of all abilities and disabilities is in the planning stages in southwest suburban Oak Lawn.

It would be the second all-inclusive playground in the Chicago area, behind South Elgin.

Oak Lawn Park District Director Maddie Kelly said bids should go out soon for a company to construct the playground and that construction should start by September.

“An all-inclusive playground is where every single piece of equipment is tailored towards kids playing with disabilities and your non-disabled kids would also enjoy,” Kelly said.

There will be swings large enough to accomodate children with cerebral palsy or who rely on a wheelchair, she said. There will also be a “sensory wave climber” and a merry-go-round that can hold wheelchairs; and a place set aside for autistic children in case the playground becomes too overwhelming for them.

The playground will be built as part of a $1.8 million overhaul of Columbus Manor Park on 99th and Moody in Oak Lawn. The all-inclusive playground portion will cost $600,000, Kelly said. Half of the money will come from capital funds, $150,000 is in the form of a grant. The Oak Lawn Park District is looking for donations for the final $150,000 cost.

“The beauty of the playground is to see the non-disabled kids playing with the disabled kids and not even noticing there’s a difference,” Kelly said.

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