Lititz, PA is a small, yet mighty town. Over the past two years, community members, organizations and businesses teamed up to raise $80,000 to incorporate accessible playground equipment into Saylor Park.
Aptly named “Harmony Playground,” this play area now includes inclusive play structures for all ages, as well as Landscape Structures’ Rhapsody Outdoor Musical Instruments, celebrating Lititz’s music industry.
A core committee was established and included Melissa Landis, then with Beers + Hoffman Architecture, and Derek Hummer, Vice President of the Lititz AMBUCS. The project was both greatly supported by both the Lititz AMBUCS, a local organization that creates mobility and independence for people with disabilities, and Warwick Township.
“It was definitely a community-wide effort,” explains Melissa. “And it started with one person.” Kathy Blankenbiller, a local resident, inquired about installing a wheel-chair accessible swing in the community.
“When Kathy shared her idea, we jumped on board – and so did everyone else. Lititz is a special town. Our community always gets involved,” says Melissa, who recalled the difficulty of going to playgrounds with her two children many years ago because there weren’t play structures accessible for her son (now 29 years old) who has autism and cerebral palsy.
The energized crew began looking at different swings that had a large deck for wheel chairs. “Our inspiration was originally the Liberty Swing, however it required a lockable fence – that didn’t feel inclusive to us for the available space at the existing playground,” admits Melissa.
Through a referral from Schreiber Pediatric Center in Lancaster, PA, they were referred to Steve Hemler, Gen Rec playground consultant, and Landscape Structures.
“Steve was great to work with. He helped us understand what was possible,” says Melissa. After developing the plan, the fundraising team got to work.
“It was quite an encouraging start was when we asked one of our local pizza restaurants to house a small stack of our fundraising brochures. Next thing we knew, we’d received a $10,000 donation from the owner!”
Through a variety of fundraising events, races, service clubs, church support and news media outreach, the committee raised $80,000 over the course of two years.
The end result at the May 20th grand opening and dedication wasn’t simply a swing. Harmony Playground now consisted of a Landscape Structures’ Molded Bucket Seat with harness, Sway Fun Glider, Cozy Dome Climber, and a We-saw, a multi-seat seesaw for all age groups, and Rhapsody Outdoor Instruments.
Moving forward, the group is on a mission to add one to two inclusive pieces of equipment to each park across the community.
To learn more about how to improve and integrate accessibility into your playground or park, contact General Recreation, Inc., at 800-726-4793 or email@example.com.