More than 250 people came to Butterfield Park on Saturday, November 5 for the grand reopening of the park and ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of The Playground for Everyone.
Children lined up and waited for the Board of Park Commissioners to cut the ribbon before racing to try the new equipment. Board President Vince Spaeth and Executive Director Jim Rogers welcomed the crowd and gave background on the project before children, parents and Playground for Everyone supporters wearing “I Helped Build the Playground for Everyone” t-shirts descended onto the new playground for the first time.
The Playground for Everyone is the first fully-inclusive playground in Elmhurst, and one of the first in DuPage county. Each year, the Elmhurst Park District budgets approximately $350,000 to replace one of its 18 playgrounds. In 2015, with the help and inspiration from Special Kids Day and the People for Elmhurst Parks Foundation, a vision for a different kind of playground emerged and the plans for a 100% accessible playground began—a playground where children of all abilities could play together, which includes state-of-the-art, sensory-rich structures that encourage play for children with mobility challenges and developmental disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.
The $600,000 Playground for Everyone would not have been possible without generous donations totaling $250,000 received from numerous community groups, an online crowd-funding campaign, individual donations and proceeds from the “Be a Kid Again” fundraiser held in February 2016.
Fully-funded and now complete, the Playground for Everyone is a project the Elmhurst community can be proud of.