ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — A new ‘Playground for All’ is coming to one of WNY’s most popular parks: Chestnut Ridge Park. Construction is now underway on the inclusive park, which will include fully accessible rides on a surface that’s compatible with wheelchairs and walkers.
“We’re pretty thrilled we all get to play together because there aren’t many opportunities like this in the Southtowns for this to occur,” Jill Jordan said, a mother.
Jill Jordan and her family live in Orchard Park. Her son Easton, 9, has an off-road wheelchair that helps him get around in tough places like tall grass, but he can’t wait for a playground he can fully use.
The playground, which is getting installed next to the casino, will include an accessible seesaw, merry-go-round, swings and more. Leaders for The Chestnut Ridge Conservancy, a non-profit that works with Erie County to preserve and restore the park, say many people came to them saying something like this was needed there.
“It just enhances the experience for everybody in Western New York,” Toni Cudney said, a member of the board of directors for The Conservancy.
It will be a play area anyone can come to, near and far. It should be complete by the end of September.
“We have records of people from 98 zip codes, several countries, (and) at least 17 different states,” Mary Simpson said, a project coordinator for The Conservancy. “So we know it attracts people as far as Rochester, Canada… everywhere. It is everyone’s park.”
The Chestnut Ridge Conservancy helped raise most of the $800,000 needed to build the playground.
Erie County’s Deputy Commissioner of Recreation, James McDonald, told News 4 that Erie County put $100,000 toward the project. He also said the county has committed $2.25 million to build five more inclusive playgrounds at Akron Falls, Emery Park, Ellicott Creek Park, Como Lake and an additional one at Chestnut Ridge Park.
If you want to help put the playground together, there is a community build on Friday, August 6 and Saturday, August 7. You can sign up 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.