Colleen Wolcott pushed her daughter, Meri, on a swing at a new inclusive playground in Greenlawn on Saturday. Meri, 17, has an unknown genetic disorder that’s left her unable to walk or talk, and while seated on the swing she smiled at Wolcott who kept pushing the teen higher.
Wolcott has also been pushing for the community to open an accessible playground for years, and on Saturday attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Harborfields Community Playground.
“I was really happy to be a part of this and to have something that my daughter and other kids could really embrace,” said Wolcott of Centerport.
Huntington Town officials, members of the Greenlawn Civic Association and Harborfields Central School District also attended the ceremony to officially open the renovated playground behind the Harborfields Public Library.
The playground includes accessible swings, a large rocker that can accommodate wheelchairs and seated children and wide wheelchair ramps so children can traverse the entire play structure.
“This community playground will be a place where children of all physical abilities can play side by side, learning, experiencing joy and, of course, growing together,” said Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci at the event.
The playground sits in the corner of Library Park, which is commonly called Pickle Park. The 1½-acre parcel is owned by the school district, and officials considered selling the land a few years ago because of the rising cost of maintenance, according to Kevin Smith, a member of the Greenlawn Civic Association.
In 2017, the town agreed to cover maintenance of the park, and last year the town and the school district agreed to share the cost of the $400,000 accessible playground, Smith said.
“Where we are standing here today is much more than a playground. It is a testament to the community coming together for the greater good of bringing people together,” Lupinacci said.