The Selectmen board of directors at its meeting on Monday, August 16, approved a $ 90,000 transfer to aid the Newtown Lions Club in purchasing adaptive play equipment in Dickinson Park for children with disabilities. The transfer has yet to be approved by the Finance Council and the Legislative Council and is expected to take place by mid-September.
After the meeting, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal told The Newtown Bee that while the city’s playgrounds currently meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, they are not “truly adaptable.”
“Children with different disabilities can go to the playground and the playground, so we’re complying with the letter of the law,” said Rosenthal, who noted that it is for children with some disabilities, such as children. B. In a wheelchair, there is not much to do while in the playground. He said the Lions club is raising funds for three adaptive play devices.
Rosenthal said he could imagine anyone can handle being a kid and not being tall enough to ride.
“Then you think of children with disabilities who may never reach this imaginary height,” said Rosenthal. “These facilities will not only make Newtown a nicer place, but also a more inclusive place.”
To date, the Lions have raised $ 42,750 and are expecting a $ 2,000 drop in price from gaming equipment retailer ME O’Brien. With $ 90,000 from the city and Parks & Recreation Department offered for prep and installation, an estimated $ 35,000 value, the club is at $ 167,750 of its target of $ 172,310, being $ 4,550 left. The city announced its contribution of $ 90,000 out of a budget surplus of $ 915,000.
Most of the remaining money from the surplus goes to the city’s fund budget.
“That is positive for an inclusive community,” said Rosenthal. “This creates a beautiful, inclusive area that all children can enjoy. I was happy to make the suggestion [the $90,000], and I am glad that the chosen ones support this. We’ve had a good budget year so we’ve seen what we can do to help. I’m glad we could do what we did. It is a worthy project. “
According to Lions Club Representative Neil Randle, the three pieces of play equipment Lions want to buy are Sway Fun, $ 27,670; the We-Go Swing, $ 32,745; and the We-Go-Round, $ 31,170.
“These articles best reflect the feel of a fully inclusive game, as well as the ability for multiple children and parents to play on the devices at the same time, with easy access and transfer to and from a wheelchair,” said Randle.
Rosenthal said he doesn’t think other communities nearby offer such equipment in their playgrounds.
In a video on the Newtown Lions website newtownlions.com, project leader Walt Schweikert stated that Newtown “has the privilege of having two beautiful parks that are wonderful for most healthy children.”
“Unfortunately, we have no offers for children with restricted mobility,” said Schweikert. “We want to try to improve the playground with a few more pieces.”
The idea for the playground improvements came from Schweikert’s granddaughter Leah Mangino. Mangino was in the playground with her mother, brother and sister and noticed that her brother could only walk up and down on a swing or on a ramp. Mangino wrote a letter to this newspaper suggesting further equipment. Schweikert took the letter to the Lions who “loved the idea”.
“We have a wonderful city in Newtown and we want to make it as inviting, accessible and enjoyable as possible for everyone, not just the able-bodied,” Randle said.
Randle said the Lions were “very pleased with the outcome” of the committee meeting and that he hoped the finance committee and legislative council would give their approval. He said that if Lions agree, they could lay the foundation for the project later this year and complete it in the spring.
“At the same time, we would like the enormous and important support from [Director] Amy Mangold and [Assistant Director of Parks] Carl Samuelson of Newtown Parks and Rec, who were instrumental in identifying the equipment supplier, negotiating a competitive price, and providing manpower for installation and prep, ”said Randle. “This is a wonderful example of a project-fundraising partnership that will bring a lot of joy to the children of our city.”
Mangold said in the Lions video that her department appreciates that Lions help with new equipment, “not just for parks and recreation, but for the community as a whole,” and that the department helps them achieve their goals.
“Our department is fully dedicated to helping Lions get the project off the ground, from planning to cutting costs with preliminary work and maintaining the equipment after construction,” said Mangold.
Reporter Jim Taylor can be reached at [email protected].
The Sway Fun is one of the adaptive play devices that the Newtown Lions Club is fundraising for; Purchase price $ 27,670.
Priced at $ 31,170, the We-Go-Round is another adaptive playground device that the Newtown Lions are looking to install.
The We-Go Swing is part of the Newtown Lions Club’s plan for a more accessible, inclusive playground in Dickinson Park; Purchase price $ 32,745.