All-inclusive playground opens in Town of Holland: ‘It’s about the families’

Erie County

HOLLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — A new playground is now open in the Town of Holland and it’s fun for all kids and families.

On opening day, two kids, Mason and Madison tried out the newest attraction together: a pirate ship-looking glider. Madison threw her hands up in the air while on it and Mason cracked a massive smile.

Five years ago, Mason’s dad, Jason Evchich had had enough of sitting under a tree with his kids, instead of playing on the playground with everyone else.

“I had enough of people staring, I had enough of people saying ‘boo hoo to them,'” he said. “I was sick of it, because I don’t feel bad.'”

Instead, he was mad.

He was angry by the lack of accessibility and opportunity for his entire family.

So, he and his wife Jennifer started a non-profit called Mason’s Mission. They raised an initial $450,000 and built the first all-inclusive playground in Pendleton.

The playground in Holland is the third one the non-profit has helped create.

“(It’s) very, very special,” Autumn Abramo said, a 4th grader at Holland Elementary School. “Not many schools have this kind of playground.”

The space took less than a year to plan and build. And it’s fun for everyone.

It’s built on a cushion surface, has wide ramps leading up to the jungle gym and includes many other wheelchair-accessible play areas, like a special merry-go-round.

“We have multiple things here that you can either give support for trunk like he needs, or you can throw the wheelchair right into it,” Jason said. “And we’re designing newer things every day.”

One of those new designs is an inclusive splash pad, which is planned for Pendleton next. It will include waterproof wheelchairs. And a suspended playground in Pendleton is also in the works. When those are done, Mason’s Mission has plans to come to a new community every year.

“It’s not really about the rubber and and fiber,” Jason said. “It’s about the families. It’s about that little girl over there, it’s about my son, it’s about my daughter learning to accept other children who may not be able to do what they can do. And it’s for parents, because parents who have children like ours struggle mightily to be accepted and belong somewhere.”

To learn more about Mason’s Mission, click here.

Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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