Government

New Providence Gets $25K Grant for Inclusive Playground Equipment for Children with Disabilities

8d947587b41a23511c17_Mattano_Park_inclusive_playground.jpg
Members of the Freeholder Board gather with the Elizabeth community to celebrate the county’s first all-inclusive playground in Mattano Park. Credits: Jim Lowney/County of Union
8d947587b41a23511c17_Mattano_Park_inclusive_playground.jpg

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — New Providence is getting a $25,470 “Level the Playing Field” grant from Union County, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced Thursday.

The new grant program was designed to help every Union County municipality provide inclusive playgrounds to children with disabilities as part of Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados’s 2018 Union County HEART initiative for community outreach and advocacy, according to press release from the county.

All 21 municipalities in the county received part of a total of $500,000 in Level the Playing Field awards, funded through the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund:

Sign Up for E-News

 

Berkeley Heights        $25,470.00     

Clark                          $25,470.00     

Cranford                     $25,470.00     

Elizabeth                    $25,470.00     

Fanwood                    $15,000.00     

Garwood                    $25,470.00     

Hillside                        $20,000.00     

Kenilworth                 $25,470.00     

Linden                         $25,470.00     

Mountainside             $25,470.00     

New Providence         $25,470.00     

Plainfield                     $25,470.00     

Rahway                      $25,470.00     

Roselle                       $25,470.00     

Roselle Park               $25,470.00     

Scotch Plains              $25,470.00     

Springfield                 $25,470.00     

Summit                       $25,470.00     

Union                         $17,010.00     

Westfield                   $15,000.00     

Winfield Park              $25,470.00     

“Every child should be able to enjoy a playground in or near their neighborhood, and participate in enriching sensory experiences with friends, family and neighbors from all walks of life,” Granados said in press release. Granados launched Level the Playing Field in 2017 while serving as vice chairman. “We would like this program to become a statewide model for counties and local governments, showing how we can work together and help all families make healthy outdoor play a lifetime habit.”

“Once all of the projects are completed, Union County will be the first county in New Jersey to have an inclusive playground for every municipality within its borders,” added Granados. “Based on our research, we may also be the first county in the U.S. with inclusive playgrounds for every municipality.”

“Through Level the Playing Field, the Freeholder Board continues to deliver on the Trust Fund’s promise of expanding and improving recreational opportunities for all county residents,” said Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, Chairman of the Trust Fund, in the release.“The benefits of inclusive playgrounds ripple out to include families and caregivers, helping to forge closer bonds within the whole community.”

Letters to all 21 municipalities announcing the availability of Level the Playing Field funding were mailed last fall, and all 21 responded, according to the county.

Many Union County parks already feature playgrounds with inclusive features, the county said. In 2016 the county opened its first fully accessible playground, located in Mattano Park in Elizabeth.

In another recent project focusing on people with disabilities, last fall the Freeholder Board broke ground on Union County’s first all-inclusive Sensory Trial. The new 0.3 mile loop in the Watchung Reservation includes a Braille trail with rope guides and nature-themed play structures, designed to be enjoyed by all ages and abilities.

Other Union County programs for people with disabilities include the Sensory Friendly Theatre series sponsored by the Freeholder Board at the Union County Performing Arts Center, and programs at the County’s Ulrich Swimming Pool, Watchung Stables and Trailside Nature and Science Center.

The Freeholder Board also provides funding for special events such as annual fishing derbies, an ice skating social, summer carnival and barn dance, as well as programs for popular activities including golf, karate, yoga and volleyball.

UC HEART stands for “Empowering, Advocating for, Reaching and Teaching others.” In addition to the new Level the Playing field grant program, UC HEART includes creation of the first Office for People with Special Needs in New Jersey.

The new office is charged with improving recreational and social opportunities, reaching out to community groups and other stakeholders and identifying new opportunities for engaging people with special needs.

More information about the Office for People with Special Needs is available on the County website, ucnj.org.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

Imagine Holds Annual Board Retreat

April 21, 2018

Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss held its annual board retreat on Saturday April 14th at its center in Mountainside.  "It was a valuable, thought-provoking, and educational day for all of us," said John Toriello, Chair of Governance.  "The board and staff worked together to establish the goals of the retreat and facilitate the agenda.  It was a great team ...

Due to Popular Demand, Union County Offers More CPR Classes

ROSELLE PARK, NJ -  Due to popular demand, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has announced, two additional CPR training classes have been added in May. Three sessions were previously scheduled in April and are already fully booked.

All classes are open to the general public.

“I encourage all Union County residents to learn basic first aid and emergency ...

Holi Color Festival Returns to Summit!

SUMMIT, NJ - Honoring its commitment to creating a culture in which diversity and inclusion are integral to everyday operations, the Summit Area Y is pleased to be hosting the Holi Color Festival for its second year!

The Holi Festival, an ancient Hindu religious holiday, is about good triumphing over evil! It also represents the beginning of spring, the joy of friendship and equality for ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, April 21, 9:00 AM

Green Village

Indoor Flea Market

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_11433c9e92ddbc063eae_103a27776b9f3cdaaab1_img_2579

Sat, April 21, 11:00 AM

Our Lady of Peace , New Providence

Our Lady of the Peace Church Holds Healing & ...

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Education Other

Sun, April 22, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Celebrate National Poetry Month @NPML

Arts & Entertainment