Adaptive playground gets $18K upgrade

Lainey Wilson peddles a tricycle around the new paved walking path at the Mercy Health’s Pediatric Rehab playground Monday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Lainey Wilson peddles a tricycle around the new paved walking path at the Mercy Health’s Pediatric Rehab playground Monday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

A playground designed to help area children develop motor and social skills is getting an $18,000 upgrade that includes a new walking path and interactive activity stations.

Springfield Pediatric Rehab’s inclusive playground just opened in October last year to provide patients and community children with a safe place to play and develop strength and sensory skills, said Jenna Christello, supervisor of pediatric rehabilitation services for Mercy Health — Springfield. An $18,000 grant from the Physician’s Charitable Foundation is allowing the facility to install a new walking path that includes play and activity stations every 50 yards.

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Construction started in August and is expected to be finished in November.

“We wanted there to be something that had a place for kids who need to work on walking or have a gait trainer or a walker,” Christello said.

The park is mostly used by patients at Springfield Pediatric Rehab, but the playground is open to everyone in the community, she said.

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Most people don’t know that’s the case, but it’s beneficial for the children to get a chance to play with others from a variety of different backgrounds, she said.

“We want it to be a place where kids with and without disabilities can interact with each other,” she said.

The walking path will be seven feet wide and will provide access to children with walkers, gait trainers and adaptive tricycles. The playground also includes an adaptive swing, a soft, level surface ground covering for wheelchair accessibility and play areas designed for children with disabilities.

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Springfield Pediatric Rehab is located at 1345 N. Fountain Boulevard in Springfield. It provides outpatient rehabilitation to children with disabilities, developmental delays and injuries and runs a daily clinic at Mercy Memorial Hospital in Urbana that offers physical and occupational therapy.

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