More than 100 attend grand opening of “Playground for All”
Bensenville, Ill.—The Bensenville Park District reopened Breiter-Palm Park with a grand opening celebration Saturday, June 18. The event—attended by more than 100 local residents and guests—included a dedication with local leaders and other activities to celebrate the reopening of the new “playground for all” after it had been closed for nearly a year for renovation.
“About two years ago, park district commissioners met with our community’s special needs families, and we made a commitment to them that our first project in the revitalization of the park district would be this playground,” Bensenville Park District Executive Director Joseph Vallez explained to those in attendance. “This allocation of funds totaled over $600,000 for this new park, the playground and the programs to support it, and we applaud our commissioners for making this a priority.”
The grand opening included a bubble table, scavenger hunt, nature-based sensory table, a bird-feeder craft, clay station, a flower craft and wildflower planting. Attendees were also able to learn about some of the birds that call the area home from professional bird handlers from the Stillman Nature Center in South Barrington, who had various owls on display.
State and local leaders in attendance also pointed to the collaborative nature of the project, as 11 government agencies and community organizations joined in the festivities. They included the Village of Bensenville, Fenton Community High School District 100, Bensenville School District 2, the Bensenville Community Library, Bensenville Fire District, Bensenville Police Department, NEDSRA-Northeast DuPage Special Recreation, DuPage County Health Department, DuPage County Area Project, the Frida Community Organization and Roots and Wings/Alas y Raices.
“This is what partnership looks like,” said Illinois State Senate President Don Harmon (D-39th District) to the crowd. “This is the way it’s supposed to work—governments cooperating to make sure there’s a playground that everybody can use.”
“We are a village. We all work together; we all put things together and we all move forward together,” Village President Frank DeSimone added. “I know we’re going to get great use out of this in the community…This is a beautiful park, a beautiful addition by the park district.”
The new playground features pour-in-place rubber playground surfacing, which meets all Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, making it possible for anyone in a wheelchair or mobility device access to playground amenities. In addition to the playground structure itself, the new park will have abundant play components that promote sensory, motor, cognitive, and social-emotional skills, as well as strength. The following equipment, made by Landscape Structures, has been installed to promote these skills: Rhapsody™ Kettle Drum, Rhapsody™ Vito Metallophone, Rhapsody™ Cascata Bells, a Bobble Rider, Sway Fun Glider, We-Saw, WhirlyQ™ Spinner and Cozy Dome™ DB.
The park’s peace pole, designed by Eagle Scout Joseph Keehn and installed at the park’s original opening in 2006 and 2007 dedication, was also refurbished and installed as a centerpiece of the new playground. The seven-foot-tall pole is custom-made of western red cedar and bears the inscription “May peace prevail on Earth” in Braille as well as six different languages reflecting Bensenville’s history. Keehn and his family were present and recognized at the event.
The neighborhood park also features a natural education area, a walking path with newly-installed fitness equipment and a new picnic shelter. The permeated-paver parking lot was also expanded to accommodate vans and larger vehicles bringing groups of people with special needs and mobility devices. New LED lighting was also installed.
The Breiter-Palm Park improvements cost $462,652.79. The project architect is JSD, Inc., of Des Plaines, and the contractor is Integral Construction, Inc., of Romeoville. New park signage and programming activities for the park is forthcoming.