Project Playground

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This year we are proud to announce our Partnership with The Town of Oyster Bay!

Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman Rebecca M. Alesia announced that the Town of Oyster Bay will soon be adding a new inclusive playground to Haypath Park, which is located on Haypath Road in Old Bethpage. The project is expected to be complete ahead of the summer season. “Inclusive playgrounds are designed to be fully useable and exciting to children with a wide spectrum of abilities,” Councilwoman Alesia said. “It is more than just a handicapped accessible play area. This playground will be designed so that all children will be able to play side by side with one another in a sensory rich and socially inclusive environment.”

The new playground will be constructed in partnership with the Junior League of Long Island® (JLLI), which not only raised funds for the project, but will also provide some of their membership to help build it. “Junior League of Long Island is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers,” Councilwoman Alesia said. “They approached the Town about supporting the development of this inclusive playground and, after discussing the logistics, Haypath Park was selected as a well-suited central location. Needless to say, we are thrilled about the prospect of our residents enjoying this unique playground and are grateful to JLLI for helping make it a reality.”

Junior League of Long Island’s current President, Joel Blainey, said her members appreciated the opportunity to work with the Town of Oyster Bay. “Junior League of Long Island and the Town of Oyster Bay share a philosophy of identifying and fulfilling community needs,” Mrs. Blainey said. “Initiative such as this inclusive playground, make the local community a healthier, more vital place to live.”

“It is a great example of government and a local philanthropic organization working together to greatly enhance the community,” Councilwoman Alesia said. “The Junior League of Long Island has been instrumental in bringing this play area to fruition and the Town of Oyster Bay will maintain it for the enjoyment of its residents for years to come. It is truly a win-win for everyone.”

Councilwoman Alesia said she and her colleagues on the Oyster Bay Town Board are very proud of the Town’s commitment to providing recreational opportunities for children with special needs. “The Town’s new inclusive playground is just one of the many features that make the Town of Oyster Bay a great place to live and raise a family,” Councilwoman Alesia said. “We are happy to join with JLLI to create this comprehensive inclusive play space and social experience for all children. We fully expect it to provide years of fun while, at the same time, providing common ground between children of all abilities.”

For over a decade, Project Playground has been a Junior League of Long Island signature community project. Our volunteers create safe, beautiful, well-organized and educational play spaces for children in Long Island communities. Project Playground focuses on schools that need major renovation and have the greatest impact on the surrounding community. Weekend clean up days include landscaping and repairing the parks. We work with over 70 volunteers a season to help improve the park and make a positive impact on the community.

Article from June 13, 2016

Playground designed for disabled opening in Old Bethpage
June 13, 2016 By David Olson

Volunteers from the Junior League of Long Island help prepare Haypath Park in Old Bethpage on Saturday, June. 11, 2016. New playground equipment that’s accessible to kids with disabilities was installed at the park. (Credit: James Carbone)
A new “inclusive” playground that will allow kids with disabilities to play with their friends and siblings is to open Tuesday in Old Bethpage.

The playground at Haypath Park is the first of its kind in Oyster Bay and one of the only ones on Long Island, said Oyster Bay Town board member Rebecca Alesia, who was involved in the playground’s planning.

On Saturday, more than 30 volunteers, mostly Junior League of Long Island members, assembled and installed the new equipment specially designed for children with disabilities. Town employees cemented it into place.

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“It’s all sensory-based,” town director of operations Andy Rothstein said of the apparatus.

Children can push buttons to hear musical sounds, speak through a “bullhorn” to communicate across the playground, turn wheels and strum thin bars. The equipment, much of which is metal covered in vinyl, is low enough to accommodate children in wheelchairs.

Near the specialized apparatus is the park’s old playground, including two swing sets that were relocated a few dozen feet away to make way for the new equipment.

Plainview resident Rob Pickus, 47, said the mix of items will allow his disabled son, Noah, 11, to play with his sister and friends.

“He’ll be able to interact a little bit easier and do more with other kids than at a typical park,” Pickus said.

Noah was born with a congenital CMV infection, which led to cerebral palsy on the right side of his body, a cognitive disability and hearing loss, Pickus said.

He can use some typical park items, but not others, and with swings, for example, he has difficulty pumping back and forth, Pickus said.

Pickus sometimes takes Noah a 20-minute drive away to a special-needs playground at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. But the new, closer playground at Haypath will allow Noah to play with more kids that he knows, he said.

The nonprofit Junior League paid $30,000 for the Haypath equipment, said group president Joel Blainey. Every two years, the organization installs playground equipment on Long Island. Past projects were at nonprofits or schools. This is the first partnership with a town government, Blainey said. The town will maintain the playground.

Rothstein said the collaboration “could be a template” for future public-private projects.

Alesia said the playground is serving a “real community-driven need” in an area known for schools with extensive special-needs services.

“It’s really minimal impact on the existing park, but we’re just adding something wonderful,” she said.

The project is implemented over a two year period. The first year focuses on planning and coordinating, followed by the actual construction of the playground. During the planning phase, style and size of the equipment are determined and necessary permits obtained. The first year also involves establishing community support for the building. During the second year of the project, the playground is built, equipment is ordered, a date finalized, and the project is well under way.

We have created and donated playgrounds to The Hagdorn Little Village School in Seaford, NY, Park Avenue Elementary School in Amityville, NY, Manhasset/Great Neck Economic Opportunity Council “EOC” in Manhasset, The Family Service League in Bayshore, NY, Early Head Start Program in Patchogue, NY.