CLINTON TOWNSHIP – A plan for the installment of an inclusive playground in a Clinton Township park is beginning to take shape with the Clinton Township Civic Center as the recommended location.
“Individuals with special needs deserve a place to recreate, with, and not separated from everyone else in our community,” said Clinton Township Treasurer Paul Gieleghem, a member of the Clinton Township Inclusive Playground Committee, formed last fall. “We believe the Township Civic Center has some of the existing infrastructure and amenities that make this an ideal location for an inclusive playground,” he said.
“We hope this can be an attraction point for area families coming from the MISD, Glen Peter’s School, or Lutz School nearby,” added Trustee Ken Pearl who also served on the Site-Selection Committee. “We want to provide something special for families who may be visiting the Civic Center already while another family member plays baseball or soccer,” he said.
The need for a playground to serve the special needs of 4,600 individuals living in Clinton Township was established last fall by the Clinton Township Board of Trustees at the request of AnnMarie Ottoy, a Clinton Township resident who serves as Community Relations Specialist for The Arc of Macomb County.
“Advocating for amenities to serve the disability community is part of my job,” said Ottoy. “It’s also a passion as a mother of a special needs son.”
Ottoy was appointed to the Inclusive Playground Committee by the Township Board and then elected by the Committee to serve as the chair. “Even in the midst of a pandemic, I couldn’t be more pleased with the commitment of members who agreed to serve, and the support from the Board of Trustees,” she said. “Agreement on the Civic Center as a location will serve as a jumpstart to the next phase, reaching out and building the community support we will need.”
The Inclusive Playground Committee concurred in the recommendation of site-selection sub-committee members Paul Gieleghem, Treasurer; Ken Pearl, Trustee, and Mary Bednar, Director of Public Services. Bednar estimated that 14,000 to 15,000 square feet are needed to accommodate the necessary playscapes for children with and without physical disabilities.
“The area identified next to the existing comfort station allows for expansion, is close to where families congregate and is near infrastructure and amenities that seamlessly support public activities,” said Bednar.
According to the Playground Committee, the next step is to ask the Township Board of Trustees for their concurrence of the Civic Center location. The discussion is scheduled to take place at the July 13, Board of Trustees virtual meeting held on GoToMeeting. Members of the public can find the access code and instructions to join the meeting through the Township’s website at www.clintontownship.com.