Coal City makes park donation official

CHILDREN OF ALL ages and abilities are enjoying the new addition to the Hope Helps all-inclusive playground in Coal City’s Lions Park. The park opened to the public on Saturday, July 6 and was officially dedicated to the village of Coal City on July 10.

Ann Gill

Hope Helps’ all-inclusive playground has officially been turned over to the village of Coal City.
A resolution accepting the donation of four new pieces of playground equipment, as well as accessory items included in the Phase II expansion, were accepted by the village board last week.
Brittney Kaluzny, founder and president of the non-profit autism awareness organization, was on hand as village trustees approved the document that outlines in detail the donation of more than $150,000 in park equipment
“The village accepts the wonderful park that has been built and we thank Hope Helps,” Village Administrator Matt Fritz said.
The expansion of the park was completed in late June and officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration on Saturday, July 6.
Kaluzny reports the park is getting a lot of use, and the two-story globe spinner has been the hit of the playground.
“I’ve been tired out many a days pushing kids on that spinner, but they are excited,” she said.
“It’s a big deal what you have done for the village, its incredible and from the entire village we thank you,” Mayor Terry Halliday said in addressing Kaluzny.
The playground opened three years ago and a little more than one year ago, Kaluzny approached the board with plans for a $150,000 expansion. The organization’s investment in the community is well over $350,000.
The playground was built by volunteers and the addition was completed over the course of two days.
Unlike the initial built, the phase II expansion came without excessive rain.
“The build was a lot easier this time. We had two days and cut people off at noon on day one, so we had things for volunteers to do who were coming on day two,” Kaluzny reported.
As part of the total project, the organization worked with the village to complete necessary drainage work at the site. In fact Kalunzy said some additional drainage was put in place, “in case there is ever a phase III.”
For now, the playground project is complete and its care and maintenance is now in the hands of the village.
Halliday said it’s nice to see the community enjoying the playground and park facilities.
Although the playground is complete, some additional construction is slated to take place in the park.
The village has been informed it has been selected to receive a state grant for the replacement of the park restrooms to meet the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“They are so needed. It’s difficult to say we have this all-inclusive playground, but you have to go home to use the restroom because the ones there are not compatible,” Kaluzny noted.
“What’s nice about this grant is that we can knock down the existing (restroom facility) and build a brand new one that is ADA accessible,” Halliday said.
The village does not currently have a time frame for the restroom construction.