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Bloomington To Open ‘Inclusive’ Playground For Special Needs Children

Harmony Park
Gametime Inc. and Harmony Park Project
Video still from a computer animation representing the future Harmony Park.

Bloomington is getting its first playground for children with special needs.
The city council on Tuesday is expected to approve spending $85,000 for the Harmony Park playground. It would be installed at Rollingbrook Park, 1002 Hershey Rd., on the city's east side.

"You’ve got a segment of the population that is dealing with disabilities and parks like this open that opportunity of visiting the park and playing in the playground for those families,” City Manager Tim Gleason said.

Rollingbrook Park
Credit City of Bloomington
Rollingbrook Park, 1002 Hershey Road, will be the site for Bloomington's new Harmony Park.

The playground will feature a rubberized surface, ramps and other amenities to be more accessible for children who have disabilities.

City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Director Jay Tetzloff said non-profit groups Autism McLean, Marcfirst, Bloomington-Normal Jaycees, Bloomington Kiwanis and Max's Miles Foundation raised $180,000 for the project.

“Everything just came together We started working on what the project could look like, got some pricing and then they went out and brought in almost all the money that was need for this entire project. It’s just incredible.”

Tetzloff said the non-profits are seeking to raise an additional $30,000 for a playground fence. He said the city will come up with the funding if private gifts fall short. He said the fence is a safety necessity for the children.

O’Neill Park

Alderman will also consider buying new playground equipment at O'Neill Park at 1515 W. Chestnut St.

District 87 is covering the cost through a $70,000 grant to the city.

The council meeting has been moved to Tuesday because city offices are closed for Veterans Day.

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