Dixon Park District begins work on inclusive playground

DIXON - Work has started with installing an inclusive playground for children with disabilities at John Dixon Park.

Inclusive playgrounds provide a sensory-rich environment that enables children to develop physically, socially and emotionally with equipment accessible to anyone, especially those with disabilities.

It’s the first of its kind in Dixon and has been a longtime goal of the Dixon Park District, Executive Director Duane Long said. From ramps and a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round to slides and rubber surfacing instead of wood chips, it will be a place where children with any disability can play.

“This is a big deal to the community, and we’re so excited,” he said.

The $120,000 playground won’t be very large, and costs are higher because of the rubber surface, but the district has left room to expand it, Long said. In the next year or two, they will likely add handicapped-accessible swings.

“It’s small but it’s packed full of good stuff,” he said.

Community members have been expressing the need for such a playground for years.

The installation could be completed as soon as Tuesday, and district staff will then do the final landscaping work. Once finished, the district plans to have a grand opening ceremony on June 18, but the details are still being worked out.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.