​Funding approved for all-inclusive playground project

​Funding approved for all-inclusive playground project

Friday, August 13, 2021

The community effort to bring an all-inclusive playground to York has gotten an additional boost from the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District (NRD). The board of directors of the NRD recently approved the expenditure of $10,000 for this project, which will be used by the City of York toward the construction of a specialized bathroom facility at the proposed park. Like other recent community enhancement projects in Geneva and Beaver Crossing, the City of York was able to apply for funds for the new playground through the NRD’s parks program.
 
The parks program offers financial assistance to communities for the development or improvement of natural resources in nature areas, campgrounds, and park facilities. This program is available for any city, town, county, or school located in the district. The district will consider—on a case-by-case basis—providing cities and villages with planning and financial assistance for multiuse parks and recreation improvement/development that encourages tree planting, creation of wildlife habitat, open spaces, and other enhancements of natural resources. The proposed playground to be installed in York has a Nebraska natural resources theme, with equipment selected that reinforces the importance of play in the great outdoors.
 
The project, called the Peyton Parker Lane Playground, will be a destination for families, especially those with children with special needs, say project organizers. “It will be a destination for more than just people with disabilities,” Julie Hoffman, one of the lead organizers. “This playground is being built for everyone but will accommodate anyone who lives with a disability.”
 
The all-inclusive playground started as the passion project of Hoffman and April McDaniel, parents of children with disabilities who have passed away (Peyton, Parker, and Lane, whose memories live on in the name of the playground). Many have joined Hoffman and McDaniel’s cause, including other local residents who have family members with disabilities, as well as community and business leaders. Unlimited Play, Crouch recreation, Little Tikes Commercial, and the City of York are all partners in the playground project.
 
The equipment will be accessible for children and adults with a range of abilities, focusing on parallel play, where family and friends can engage and connect with each other through fun activities. Finding appropriate bathroom facilities is often a challenge for families with older children with mobility issues, as they may require changing stations that can accommodate larger individuals. The bathrooms to be constructed at the Peyton Parker Lane Playground will be equipped for these needs, thus allowing greater use of the park.
 
“The Peyton Parker Lane Playground will be a great addition for York,” said NRD board member Paul Bethune of York. “Restrooms have been needed in the area since Mincks Park was developed, and the specialized bathrooms will help draw more families to the park.”
 
Fundraising continues for the project, which has garnered great support within the community. Private and corporate donations have poured in for the project, estimated to cost a total of $1 million. Private donations over the past 13 months total $550,000. Project organizers hope that fundraising will soon be completed and construction can begin in 2022. The playground will be installed at Mincks Park on the northeast side of York, near the Family Aquatic Center and Ballfield Complex. This location will be ideal for the playground, as many families are already visiting the area to make use of these other facilities. The all-inclusive playground will provide the perfect opportunity for York residents as well as out of town guests to have access to recreation that meets all patrons’ needs.

For full details on the Peyton Parker Lane Playground, visit their page on the York County Development Corporation website. To apply for funds through the NRD parks program, see details here