Salem Lions Receive City Council Support for Inclusive Playground Project

Estimated Cost of the Project is $150,000

The Salem Lions Club received informal support from the Salem City Council Monday night to pursue an inclusive playground near the north end of Bryan Memorial Park.

Lion's Club Playground Project Coordinator Shelli McIntosh estimates the cost of the project at $150,000.

"The Lion's Club has formed a committee and started the legwork for this project. Upon approval from the city, we will begin applying for grants, fundraising, and requesting assistance from other community organizations, business, and individual donors. We believe this can be just as successful as the Lion's Club efforts years ago in the fundraising efforts to build Salem Township Hospital," said McIntosh.

The playground would be wheelchair accessible, include ramps for access to slides and other play structures, a roller slide with metal pipes that roll and a harnessed swing. McIntosh says there would also be a musical area with three metal pipe instruments and a digital interactive game for older children and adults with mobile devices.

"Personally I am very passionate about this project because of the impact it will have on so many in our community. I knew that before I started working on it. However, since the word has gotten around about the possibility of a park in Salem I have been approached almost daily. There are so many people who really need this," said McIntosh. "They need an enclosed space where their autistic toddler is safe and won't run into the street, they need a flat surface for wheelchair-bound children, they needed swings with a harness, a ramp to access slides, and accessible entrance and surface for older grandparents raising little ones. This park will make a difference in the lives of many local families."

McIntosh admits she's optimistic but hopes the playground can be finished by next fall. The city is already building a handicapped accessible sidewalk from the Aquatic Center parking lot to Picnic Shelter 7 and to the playground area.

Once completed, the playground would be turned over to the city.

The council could take no formal action Monday night because the project wasn't on the agenda. However, several commended McIntosh and the Lions for undertaking the community project. It will appear as an agenda item at a future meeting for formal approval.