Officials gather for a ribbon cutting ceremony at Abington Community Park for handicapped accessibility improvements including new restrooms, parking spaces and paths. From left: Larry West, state Sen. John Blake’s office; Michele Breslin, Abington Joint Recreation Board grant writer; Marie King, Clarks Green Borough Council president; Linda Young, recreation board; Bill Coleman, Lackawanna County Economic and Community Development deputy director; Todd Zimmerman, Clarks Green Borough Council and recreation board; Lackawanna County Commissioner Bruce Smallacombe; former state Rep. Jim Wansacz; Al Urban, recreation board; Lackawanna County Commissioner Michael J. Washo; Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien; Gerri Carey, Clarks Summit Borough Council president; Michele Tierney, recreation board; Joanne Conley, Urban Research and Development Corporation; Drew Sonntag, Urban Research and Development Corporation; Jerry Chilewski, Chilewski Enterprises.
Scranton, PA – Lackawanna County Commissioners Michael J. Washo, Corey D. O’Brien and Bruce A. Smallacombe, along with state and local officials, including former state Rep. Jim Wansacz, held a ribbon cutting ceremony today at the Abington Community Park for handicapped accessibility improvements including new restrooms, paths and parking spaces.
Lackawanna County allocated $23,115 in Community Development Block Grant program funds to construct the handicapped parking spaces and wheelchair accessible paths that lead to the restrooms and to the county-built Boundless Playground. Engineering costs were covered by the Abington Joint Recreation Board. In addition, former state Rep. Wansacz obtained $39,000 in state funds to build the handicapped-accessible restroom facility.
Lackawanna County opened the $250,000 Boundless Playground at the Abington Community Park in 2009 – one of three Boundless Playgrounds constructed by the county. Three additional Boundless Playgrounds are in the works. Boundless Playgrounds serve all children regardless of need or ability level. Wheelchair-bound youngsters are able to access slides through ramps, swings have special high backs and quiet activity areas are provided for autistic children, among other features.
The Commissioners also previously allocated a $45,000 Lackawanna Environmental Conservation and Outdoor Recreation (LECOR) grant to the park to assist with construction of a pavilion. Funding for the Boundless Playground came from the county Landfill Trust and state gaming money, while the LECOR grant came from the Landfill Trust. No county property tax dollars were used to fund projects at the park.
The park is overseen by the Abington Joint Recreation Board, which includes representatives from Clarks Green, Clarks Summit, Glenburn Township, South Abington Township and Waverly Township. Michele Breslin, grant writer for the recreation board, pointed to the many improvements at the park from the pavilion and community garden to the Boundless Playground and handicapped accessible restrooms. Much of what has been accomplished was done through the efforts of community volunteers, she said.
“The park is a testament to the vision of the Abington Joint Recreation Board and the volunteers and elected officials that serve on it,” Commissioner O’Brien said, “and the beautiful restroom facility compliments the county’s investment in the Boundless Playground. It’s great to see what can be accomplished when the state, county and local governments work together.”
“There is a heightened sensitivity now to the needs of those with disabilities, as almost every family is touched by someone with disabilities at some level,” Commissioner Washo said. “This project ensures that everyone will have equal access to these public facilities, and that the Boundless Playground will be completely utilized.”
“Through this improvement, we have made the lives of people with disabilities – regardless of age – that much easier. Even small upgrades mean a lot to those in need,” Commissioner Smallacombe said.
“This project has grown tremendously based on the vision of the Abington Joint Recreation Board,” Mr. Wansacz said. “It shows when all three parts of government work together – state, county and municipal – things get accomplished at a very high level.”