After months of planning, the Playground for Everyone will break ground this June at Butterfield Park with an anticipated grand opening in November.
 
The universal playground will be a place where children of all abilities can play and socialize together. Equipment will be designed for children with limited means of mobility and for able-bodied children so that children of all abilities can swing, slide, spin and play side-by-side.
Recent research has shown that many life skills are developed through play and that playground interactions are a critical part of helping kids understand what makes every person unique. Yet very few outdoor play facilities allow disabled children equal access to building those skills. The best way to foster acceptance, friendship, and understanding is by allowing children to interact with peers of all ability levels.
 
Elmhurst’s universal playground was conceived as a dream project by the Elmhurst Park District, Special Kids Day, and the People for Elmhurst Parks Foundation back in the spring of 2015.
 
Each year the park district replaces one of its 18 playgrounds, and Butterfield Park, which was slated for 2016, was determined to be the best site to build a universal playground. The average budget for a park replacement is approximately $350,000, but when plans for the envisioned universal playground soared to $600,000, the People for Elmhurst Parks Foundation reached out to community organizations.
 
The Kiwanis Club of Elmhurst, the Elmhurst Children’s Assistance Foundation and Kick Off for Kids, the Andi Stelzner Fund of the DuPage Foundation, Elmhurst Rotary Club, Elmhurst Lions, Elmhurst Jaycees, and Mobility Works were among some of the groups donating funds. Other money was raised by crowd-funding and individual donations until the additional $250,000 was covered .
 
In March project bids were approved for purchase of playground equipment, soft-surfacing, landscaping, and installation.
 
The park will be one of a limited number of such playgrounds in the area.
 
If you want to live in a town with 18 parks, including an all-inclusive park, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.