This project, an ADA-approved inclusive special needs playground, along with other therapeutic outdoor equipment is located on the property of The Arc's Preschool Education program located at 205 Yorkshire Road in Tonawanda. This equipment will play a crucial role in the physical and occupational therapy plans contained in the Individual Education Programs for more than 260 children daily. The intent is not only for this equipment to serve as a therapeutic tool for the students but also to promote inclusiveness with all of the community members, parents and kids. Parkitects, Inc., a highly respected playground/equipment installer has completed numerous projects for public sites and programs like the Green-Acres Playground.
In addition, the organization has partnered with Jason Evchich of Mason’s Mission, a local Foundation dedicated to constructing inclusive programs in Western New York. Jason has agreed to serve as the project’s chairperson and liaison with Parkitects. Jason has two children currently enrolled at Green Acres.
Press Release June 13, 2019:
THE ARC ERIE COUNTY NEW YORK DEBUTS STATE-OF-THE ART, INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND Opened in conjunction with Mason’s Mission Foundation, the new playground complements The Arc Erie County’s preschool special education program in Tonawanda
BUFFALO, NY – June 13, 2019 – The Arc Erie County New York, a nonprofit human services organization supporting children and adults with disabilities and their families, has added a new early childhood playground at its Tonawanda location, specially-designed to enable children with developmental and physical challenges to play alongside their peers. The playground has been in development for more than two years at The Arc Erie County’s Preschool Education site in Tonawanda, and was designed and built in partnership with Mason’s Mission Foundation.
The 4,900-square-foot playground features equipment traditionally found at a neighborhood playground – slides, swings, and a merry-go-round – but each piece has been selected for its ability to accommodate children with physical and intellectual limitations. The outdoor play area features a wheelchair-friendly, poured-in-place rubberized surface and a wheelchair-accessible swing set. Particular attention was also paid to installing equipment that would provide multi-sensory stimulation for children with intellectual disabilities; the playground includes an assortment of interactive panels alongside an outdoor musical center complete with drums, chimes and xylophone.
“For the young children we support, a playground is much more than a place to spend recess. This new outdoor area will be home to occupational therapies, physical therapies and social development activities that are critical to success both inside and outside the classroom,” said Douglas DiGesare, CEO of The Arc Erie County. “Our deepest gratitude to The Mason’s Mission Foundation and the entire Evchich family for lending their vision, expertise and passion to this important project. Their leadership, alongside the guidance of our team at the school, will ensure this resource will positively impact the lives of children for decades to come.”
The Arc Erie County’s Preschool Program supports children between the ages of two and five with all levels of disabilities through a variety of inclusive and self-contained classrooms. Children come to the program by referral from school districts across Erie County.
The playground was made possible through the generous support of a variety of local donors including Mason’s Mission Foundation, James H. Cummings Foundation, The Children’s Guild Foundation, Casullo’s Automotive Services, O’Connor Mechanical Corporation and a significant contribution from The Arc Erie County New York Employee Directed Fund, made up entirely from contributions from the staff of The Arc Erie County.
The Arc Erie County has six service-providing locations across Western New York, including sites in Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Hamburg, Tonawanda and Williamsville. For more information on The Arc Erie County and its preschool education program, visit www.arceriecounty.org or call 1-833-Arc-Erie.