Harmony Park Project aims to convert playground into inclusive space

Initial plans to convert the Rollingbrook Park playground into an inclusive area include a soft surface and fencing. (Photo Facebook/Harmony Park Project)

 

By Greg Halbleib

BLOOMINGTON – Local non-profit groups are working with the City of Bloomington to develop an inclusive playground at a south side park.

The Harmony Park Project was formed to replace the playground equipment at Rollingbrook Park on Hershey Road. One of the organizers, Tyson Mohr, said the goal is to include playground items for all children, including those with physical limitations. He listed one playground staple that has been modified elsewhere.

“A really large teeter-totter that I think will fit 20 different people and fit a wheelchair on it,” Mohr said. “I went to a park in another city that had one of these. Kids are climbing all over it, children of all abilities playing together, teeter-tottering back and forth.”

Organizer Corin Chapman said another item planned is a merry-go-wall.

“It’s very much a merry-go-round like you would have seen, but it has backs to the chairs so that children who might not have full core strength will be able to use it,” Chapman said. “You can also insert a five-point harness so that children would be fully protected.”

Mohr said a soft yet stable surface is also planned.

The project is a joint effort between Marcfirst, Autism McLean, Max’s Miles Foundation and the Bloomington-Normal Jaycees. Total cost is estimated at $350,000, with $85,000 from the city, $25,000 from a State Farm Neighborhood grant and the rest from private and corporate donations. Fundraising will continue through 2018.

Information can be found on the Harmony Park Project Facebook page.

PODCAST: Listen here to an interview with Chapman and Mohr and WJBC’s Greg Halbleib.

Greg Halbleib can be reached at greg@wjbc.com.

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