Clinton Township is set to get an inclusive playground this fall. This rendering shows a playscape for children 5-12 years old.

Clinton Township is set to get an inclusive playground this fall. This rendering shows a playscape for children 5-12 years old.

Image provided by Clinton Township

Inclusive playground expected to finish construction in fall

By: Nick Powers | C&G Newspapers | Published May 22, 2024


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township is moving closer to getting a park with greater accessibility for disabled children.

The Clinton Township Board of Trustees approved a presentation by Department of Public Services Supervisor Mary Bednar and Inclusive Playground Committee Chair AnnMarie Ottoy outlining features, costs and a timeline for the park.

The project is expected to begin in late summer 2024 and finish in the fall. The Clinton Township Board of Trustees approved the playground in 2019. A committee was formed to build the playground and plays an advisory role about inclusivity and other township spaces.

The equipment has a nature theme with the appearance of a river. There are frogs, mushrooms and logs incorporated around the green and brown playscapes. Special attention was given to aspects of the design like making the slides metal.

“If you have a cochlear implant you can use a metal slide more than you can a plastic slide because of the static electricity and so forth,” Bednar said. “That way everyone can slide.”

The main playscape is for children ages 5 to 12. It is accessible to children with mobility limitations and allows participants to move through most of the main structure, with space to turn around. There are swings that cater to different kinds of abilities.

There’s a smaller playscape for children ages 2 to 5  and different structures nearby like a small cave, chimes and a seesaw.

A unique feature of the inclusive playground is the sensory and quiet area. It provides kids with a place to take a break from play if they get overwhelmed. Bednar said the space, which features sitting areas and a stage, can help bring out a kid’s imagination.

“This is probably what makes this playground different from almost any other playground,” Bednar said.

“I think this will be a well-loved feature of this playground,” said Ottoy, who chairs the Inclusive Playground Committee.

The playground isn’t just for kids. Adults and older kids also have a separate space for physical conditioning and therapy.

More than $1.46 million has been fundraised for the project so far. The township raised $130,790 from different charitable organizations, such as the Kiwanis and Lions clubs. A resident, who was not named, donated $25,000 to the project. The project received a $1 million grant from the state. The township, at a previous meeting, allocated $300,000 for the playground if needed.

The total cost of the project is $1,467,944, according to Bednar. The cost of the equipment, from GameTime through the MiDeal program, is $1,399,998. There will be approximately $10,946 in additional costs to the Department of Public Services. She said design firm Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick was willing to do $20,000 in work for $6,000. There is a $51,000 contingency for construction costs.

“This has been a great passion of mine. I’m glad to see it come to fruition,” Clinton Township Treasurer Paul Gieleghem said.

“With our inclusive ball fields, we have a lot more than any other community in the state of Michigan,” Supervisor Bob Cannon said.

Ottoy said that families who have a child with disabilities have to fight for many opportunities. The playground serves as a way to connect.

“This playground is an opportunity for people to have that respite, to have peace of mind with some recreation with their family members,” Ottoy said.