About 30 staff and community volunteers helped build the Universal Playground at Weitkamp Park on Saturday, September 10.
Universal Playground at Weitkamp Park Opens Sept. 22
Project supported by Hudson Hospital Foundation, City of Hudson and Community
Hudson, Wisc.—On Sept. 22, the Universal Playground at Weitkamp Park will open. The play area will be Hudson’s first playground that children of all abilities can use. Crews will install the universal equipment where the park’s existing playground is located; the city will move the existing playground equipment to Hudson’s Lakefront Park. The Hudson Hospital Foundation, the City of Hudson and the community funded the project.
Dave Grambow, Hudson Hospital Foundation Interim Board Chair, says, “The Hospital Foundation raised more than $75,000 at our 2015 Annual Wine Tasting Event to purchase the universal playground equipment. We feel it’s important that children – regardless of their abilities or disabilities – be able to play together in a safe, integrated environment.” Grambow says that approximately 800 children in Hudson Public Schools are considered to have special needs and would have access to the playground. Special needs can be defined as a physical restriction, developmental delay, chronic illness, learning challenge, behavioral issue or other diagnosis.
Universal playgrounds are designed to meet seven guiding principles: be fair, be included, be smart, be independent, be safe, be active and be comfortable. Kari Rambo, Hudson Hospital Foundation President, says the entire play area’s surface will allow for complete mobility by youth and adults. For example, the jungle gym’s ramp leads to four, 360-degree pods where children with physical restrictions can completely turn around as well as play with multiple auditory and sensory equipment pieces. In addition, the playground will house three swing-set bays with regular swings, large strapped-in swings, and a two person face-to-face swing for adult/child interaction. “This playground is going to be such a great asset for our community,” says Rambo. “The Hospital Foundation is honored to collaborate with the City of Hudson and the community on such an important project.” The grand opening celebration for the park begins at 5 p.m. Attendees are welcome to stay for family-friendly activities. For more information, visit hudsonhospital.org.