LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – From toddlers to senior citizens, everyone now has a new park to enjoy in La Crosse.
The All Abilities Trane Park officially opened to the public on Wednesday afternoon.
Amy Hendrickson with the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation says the idea came when community members wanted to create a type of space that wasn’t available in the Coulee Region.
“This vision started nearly ten years ago when several families with children on the autism spectrum came together for our annual picnic,” Hendrickson recalled. “We searched our community and surrounding communities for a meeting place that would be safe and accessible, but when our search came up empty we decided we can do better, our community can do better.”
That vision is now reality and is receiving high praise from La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds.
“There are amazing facilities that we’ve built within the City of La Crosse and this has got to be one of the greatest,” Reynolds expressed.
A recent addition to the park was a FitLot from AARP, who saw the park as an opportunity to support a nationwide campaign.
“In 2019 it was AARP’s 60th anniversary and our CEO Jo Ann Jenkins wanted to do something special for all of the states and territories where we have offices,” Associate State Director for Community Outreach Darrin Wasniewski said. “We worked with the group of volunteers here in La Crosse who said, they have this All Abilities Park going in and I think they’re missing the adult component to it and they might want to talk to you.”ADVERTISEMENT
The park provides a sensory-rich environment for people to enjoy outdoor fun and recreation – without any boundaries or restrictions.
Hendrickson says the community’s vision doesn’t stop with the park.
“The All Abilities Trane Park Project continues to educate and promote inclusivity and acceptance across their community while celebrating uniqueness and varying abilities,” Hendrickson described.
Hendrickson urges the community to become allies to those with special abilities, creating a welcoming environment where they feel a sense of belonging.
In La Crosse, Alex Loroff, First News at Nine.