Kenosha Dream Playground
From October 10, 2015 through March 18, 2016, children of all abilities and their families played at the Kenosha Dream Playground – the city’s first completely handicap accessible park. When city officials first announced the temporary closing of the park due to safety issues, community members began to express their concerns and frustrations in city council meetings. Now, anticipation for the reopening of the park has heightened once again.
“The idea of the Dream Playground is awesome. All children benefit from it. It provides an inclusive environment where disabilities don’t have to be a limiting factor. Inclusion is important for children to learn at a young age,” said Rachel Flach, ’16, Elementary Education major and one of the many volunteers from Carthage that contributed to the park’s completion.
According to an article titled “Dream Playground work nears completion” published by The Kenosha News, while an opening day has not been officially released, it is possible that the park will reopen mid-November.
The construction to replace the faulty flooring has been completed. Currently, the floor is curing – this is the waiting period in which residue leaves the flooring, cross-linking with oxygen and ultimately developing strength, toughness and abrasion resistance. Soon after, safety tests will be completed to confirm that the renovations have improved the quality of the park.
Despite the park being closed for eight months, community members are still recognizing the park and the benefits that it provides. According to the Kenosha Dream Playground Project Facebook Page, the Dream Playground was voted first in the Family Fun Category in Kenosha News’ “2016 Best of Kenosha County” survey. This annual survey gives community members the opportunity to recognize successful local businesses and individuals that serve their needs above and beyond expectations.
After more than 3,000 volunteers worked together in 2015 to finish the million-dollar project, many are disappointed to see the park inactive for so long.
“The community really came together and put a lot of effort into building this park, and it is something that Kenosha can be very proud to have. It is unfortunate that the park still cannot fulfill its purpose. The city of Kenosha is doing everything they can to rebuild it, and I am looking forward to the park being back in action,” said Flach.
Removing the unsafe flooring cost the city $650,000, but the value of an all-inclusive park for the Kenosha community is worth the high costs. Depending on the weather that is to come in the next couple weeks, safety tests and final constructions will be completed, and the park can again be enjoyed by Kenosha’s diverse community.
For updates on the park’s opening and any further construction plans, please visit the Kenosha Dream Playground Project Facebook Page, where officials have promised to keep community members informed about the park’s plans.