By DYLAN SMITH, NEWS3 Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) – A new playground will soon be built at Lincoln Elementary School that would make playtime more accessible for students with physical disabilities.
Playground for All is a project that stemmed from the need to provide better sensory options. At Lincoln Elementary, the playground is like any other playground. There are high monkey bars, climbing structures and surfaces with pea gravel.
Lincoln Elementary kindergarten teacher and Playground for All project leader Pam Burnham said the goal of the new playground is to provide an equal opportunity for everyone.
“If I think of all the playgrounds I’ve ever been to in my life, even the ones in your local community, were they actually accessible to everybody,” Burnham said.
The playground would include rubber surfacing, lower entry into pieces and sensory options such as music, spinning and tactile variety.
For students like Cooper Hill, who has achondroplastic dwarfism, it’s a challenge to keep up with his classmates.
“This new playground, because it’s lower to the ground, all of the options are accessible for anyone who is going to be in a walker, a wheelchair, in his [Cooper’s] condition or temporarily have a cast,” Burnham said.
Playground for All hopes to alleviate the challenges students with physical disabilities face.
“Unfortunately it’s been really hard, especially when Cooper was younger, to find somewhere in Macomb to get him outside and playing that was safe and that we didn’t have to lift him up and do all of the work for him, ” Sarah Hill, Cooper’s mother, said.
Playground for All is completely funded through grants and donations made by Macomb-area businesses, corporations and individuals. The project has raised more than $85,000, but estimates say the playground could cost closer to $100,000.
The new playground is scheduled to break ground in the summer.