COLTS NECK, NJ: Thirteen months after its official ground-breaking ceremony, the Colts Neck Lions Club Sensory Den in Dorbrook Park is complete and ready to be enjoyed. On September 19, Lions Club members and family, community leaders, and donors attended the ribbon cutting for the Lions Sensory Den, which is an addition to the current Challenger playground located in Dorbrook Park. Although the Den has sensory equipment designed to primarily benefit blind, visually impaired, and autistic children, it is designed for all children, noted Lions Club President Justin Lotano. The main focus of the equipment is touch and sound, so the playground features numerous musical instruments such as xylophones, Rhapsody Kettle, Kundu and Goblet Drums, and bells; as well as a Global Motion feature that improves posture and balance; misting columns, and much more.

 Club President Lotano said the original idea for the Sensory Den came from his wife, Christina Lotano, when they were discussing a larger project for the club to focus on. Donations of over $500 that were received for the Sensory Den project came from Colts Neck Business Association; Quiet Winter Farms, J. Willard and Carol Thompson; Andy and Dawn Lotano and Family; Anna Appolonia; Dunkin’ Donuts: Joy in Childhood Foundation; Scott Stanford and Family; Colts Neck Reformed Church; WAWA Foundation; Investors Bank & Investors Foundation; The Gannet Foundation; Barr-None Coating Applications; NJ Smile Center of Colts Neck, Anthony Vocaturo DDS, AAACD, FACE, FAGD, FIADFE; MBD Development Corp; Mario and Meredith Geneve; Ed Brock of Brock Farms; Lions District 16L; Robert DeFalco Realty and Family; The Youth Foundation, Emil Shakov, M.D., FACS Rada Shakov, M.D.; Anonymous; The Saker Family; The Casa Luca Foundation; Women’s Club of Colts Neck; Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation; Sunrise Optimist Foundation; Justin and Christina Lotano and Family; Alison De Noia and Family; Nancy and Vito Viola; St. Mary’s Catholic Church; Lillian and Donald Burry.

During his speech, Lotano recognized John Grabowski. “He was a member of the Colts Neck Lions Club for over 50 years. Unfortunately, he passed away earlier this year. He was always very excited about this playground project and I am sure he was smiling down watching us celebrate the grand opening. I am proud to have been the president of such a wonderful club during this project. The entire community of Colts Neck came together with great enthusiasm to make this possible. We now have something that the children in Monmouth County can enjoy for many years to come.”

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Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry acknowledged that the Lotanos and other Lions initially presented the idea to the Monmouth County Parks System administration and to her as the Parks liaison. “Thanks to the generous donations of community members and businesses, and the wonderful support from the Monmouth County Park System, the Lions Sensory Den is now a reality.”

This article is published as part of a content sharing relationship between TAPinto Colts Neck and Community Magazine.