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Group working to raise $125K for 'inclusive playground'

By Howard B. Owens
Feb 7, 2013, 8:41pm

Building an "inclusive playground" at Kiwanis Park in the Town of Batavia will cost $125,000, members of the Batavia Kiwanis Club were told at their weekly meeting today.

The group backing the project has already raised $30,000, asked the club to pitch in $10,000 and is making similar requests of a number of local groups.

Susan Maha, who is on the committee helping to bring the idea of an inclusive park to fruition, told members "it's your park" and the Kiwanis should be part of the project.

An inclusive park includes play sets that are accessible to people with disabilities, whether physical or mental.

"So many kids in our community have these fears and can't go to a normal playground," Maha said. "We have thousands of people in our community who can't go to a normal playground and it breaks my heart."

The playground would be open to the entire community, young and old, with disabilities or not.

Maha recalled the history of the park, which was first proposed in 1976. The Kiwanis helped raise $100,000 and the park opened in 1982.

Shelley Falitco, director of development for Genesee ARC, said backers have until March 1 to raise the $125,000. That's when the playground equipment must be ordered so it arrives by April's "Day of Caring."

The group will be looking for 50 people to volunteer on the Day of Caring to help install the playground equipment.

To find out how to support the project, contact Shelley Falitco at (585) 343-1123.

Top photo, Shelley Falitco; inset photo, Susan Maha.

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