The rocky patch of dirt tucked on one side of the Cherry Avenue County Park in West Sayville is to be transformed into a new playground accessible to children with disabilities.
"This finally gives the kids a place to play," said Suffolk County Legis. Bill Lindsay (D-Bohemia) at the groundbreaking Thursday.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone praised the project as an investment in local families. "It's great to be ensuring that all kids can participate," he said. "I will tell you these playgrounds are loved by every child."
Lindsay said the push for the playground started with his father, William Lindsay, in 2011, when the former presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature allocated $250,000 in county funds for what was to be a skate park.
Four years later, community input turned the idea for the skate park into the neighborhood's first handicapped-accessible playground.
The equipment is designed to be easy for children of all abilities to play on, including ramps for kids to get to higher levels, large entrances and areas for wheelchair mobility, a safety surface covering the playground, and sidewalks linking the playground to handicapped-designated parking spaces.
Frank Krotschinsky, director of the county's Office for People with Disabilities, noted that the playground will enable parents who use wheelchairs, such as himself, to join their young children at the playground.
Sayville Chamber of Commerce board member Kay Cameron said an accessible playground would have made playing with her grandson, who is disabled, feasible. "We would go from park to park trying to find something for him," Cameron said. "His mother would always have to hold him to go down the slides."
The playground is expected to be finished within six weeks.