LIVINGSTON, NJ — Following the 2015 Color Livingston 5K Fun Run on Saturday, the Livingston Township Council and representatives from Healthy Community Healthy Youth (HCHY) and Senior Youth and Leisure Services (SYLS) held a ribbon-cutting of the new all-inclusive playground at Monmouth Court.
The 2014 Fun Run, sponsored by the HCHY Committee and SYLS, raised nearly $25,000 toward the playground project, which was built to be accessible for children of all ages and abilities. Funds raised at this year’s event will go toward Livingston’s Youth Appreciation Week in May of 2016.
“I’m so pleased with how many kids are here,” said Mayor Michael Silverman. “I know I speak on behalf of the entire council when I tell you how excited we are to be here today to officially dedicate the new all-inclusive, adaptive playground.”
Silverman thanked SYLS Director Jennifer Hessberger, HCHY President Alan Karpas, Livingston Freeholder Leonard Luciano, Essex County Freeholder Pat Sebold, the Brown Family, the Livingston Kiwanis Club and County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo for being instrumental in the all-inclusive playground project.
According to Silverman, the Livingston Adaptive Recreational Program has been growing in leaps and bounds over the past six or seven years. Holding the grand opening of the all-inclusive playground immediately following the Color Run, which began at the Oval and ended at Monmouth Court, allowed kids and families to see the adaptive program in action.
“This is a great opportunity because it’s coming full circle,” said Susan Ridley, who supervised the construction of the park. “It’s showing how the community is supporting children with special needs and it’s so colorful, which mimics the Color Run.”
Hundreds of students, parents, strollers and teams from Livingston and surrounding towns came together as a community and walked, ran, skipped and rolled the 3.1 miles to the finish line at Monmouth Court. Whether they ran as individuals or as a team, the goal to do something active as a community was met.
At the finish line, the parking lot at Monmouth Court was jam-packed with music, pizza, cotton candy, refreshments, blow-up obstacles and clouds of color. Prior to the ribbon cutting, Silverman, Sebold and DiVincenzo spoke highly of each of the sponsors and thanked the kids and parents for coming out on a Saturday morning.
“I have to tell you that the whole advisory board thought that this project was the best that was presented,” said Sebold. “Everybody thought it was outstanding, and they were right because, looking at it, I see how terrific it is.”
Sebold and DiVincenzo also thanked all who contributed to the project, not only from Livingston, but from the county as well. In 2014, the combination between a grant from Essex County and the Color Run fundraiser made the playground possible. This year, monies raised will allow HCHY and SYLS execute a successful Youth Appreciation Week.
Color Livingston was a way for the community to become aware about both the playground and Youth Appreciation Week and gave the town a reason to get excited about them.
See more pictures at TAP into Livingston's Facebook Page.