A community is coming to the rescue of one of the state’s first fully handicap accessible park.
Independence Park -- which features wheelchair accessible playground surfaces, ramps and swings -- has been a model for other parks in the region since it was built in 2000. Budget concerns in Johnson County put the future of the park in Jeopardy until a community supporter stepped in.
Earlier this year, the Johnson County Park Board considered transferring control of the park to the township due to budget concerns, but Caito said she offered to lead efforts to fundraise for the park’s future.
"I really didn't think it was fair for it to be taken away from the county because it really belongs to the people who helped build it," Caito said.
"It means a lot that the community cared enough to have a place for children with disabilities to come and play when they're not always thought about," said Karla Johnson, who has a son with Down Syndrome.
This weekend, area children will perform a benefit concert with the hope of raising some of the $250,000 requested for upgrades, a new accessible teen playground and a large park shelter that can rented out to families.
It's an effort that children, families and even area schools are pulling for.
"It's wonderful," said Karen Robertson, a teacher at Sugar Grove Elementary. “I have three students in wheelchairs and they can access equipment here that they can't access at another playground nearby."
For more information on the benefit concert and the planned upgrades is available online.
Woman steps up to lead effort to save handicap accessible park
A community is coming to the rescue of one of the state's first fully handicap accessible park.