YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown’s new sports and recreation complex will soon be open to children of all abilities.
Last week, state Sen. Peter Harckham announced Yorktown as the recipient of a $250,000 state grant to fully fund the construction of an adaptive use playground at the Granite Knolls Sports and Recreation Complex on Stoney Street.
“Children all have ability,” Harckham said at a press conference on Friday, Aug. 2. “They just have different abilities. They may learn differently, and they may play differently, but every child has ability.”
Lucas Canniff, who turns 4 next month, served as inspiration for the playground. A blood clot on his spinal cord when he was just a year old left Lucas paralyzed from the waist down.
Since then, the Canniffs have found very few playgrounds, and none in northern Westchester, that are accommodating to Lucas’ wheelchair. That prompted to his mother, Lisa, to email Town Clerk Diana Quast, who is chair of the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission.
Quast returned Lisa’s message within five minutes. Together, they worked on designing a playground to meet the needs of children like Lucas. It includes a rubberized surface and wheelchair-friendly equipment.
“It really is a truly inclusive playground,” Lisa told Yorktown News. “So, all the kids can play together.”
A goal of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Quast said, is to provide diverse recreation and leisure activities.
“Part of this commitment is changing our playgrounds to provide places where children of all abilities can play together,” Quast said at the press conference.
The town-owned sports complex, which opened earlier this year, has playing courts and fields for pickleball, basketball, football, lacrosse, baseball, softball, field hockey, and more, in addition to walking trails and a putting green.
“The addition of the adaptive use playground will further enhance this outstanding facility,” said Town Supervisor Ilan Gilbert.
Construction on the playground, which will be built near the pickleball courts, is expected to begin in the fall, Quast said.
“Whether we’ll be able to finish [before the winter] depends on the weather,” she said.