Saturday was an important day for the city of York, as it marked the grand opening of the largest, all-inclusive playground in the state of Nebraska: Peyton Parker Lane Playground. The playground is named in memory of three children who touched the lives of many: Peyton and Parker Hoffman and Lane McDaniel.
Peyton Parker Lane Playground opens
25 May 2023
News Articles, News
A dream turned into a reality: Peyton Parker Lane Playground opens
By Naomi Snider, York News-Times
Families came from near and far to witness the ribbon cutting and children of all abilities left with smiles and giggles that could be heard from miles away. It was a day that many won’t forget.
Mayor Berry Redfern opened the ribbon cutting ceremony by expressing his appreciation of the collaborative efforts of the Peyton Parker Lane committee volunteers and community members who made this possible for people with all abilities.
“One of the great things about being involved with city government is to see an idea turn into a reality and there it is,” said Redfern. “To these passionate people that had raised this money, had this idea, and made this thing happen... to all of the people and businesses in this community that supported in this effort to make this happen, I thank you all. This is a great addition to York. It’s something that kids and people will enjoy for so long. I am just thrilled to live in York, Nebraska.”
Crouch Recreation’s Eric Crouch, who oversaw the construction of Peyton Parker Lane, also spoke to the crowd of people, eagerly waiting for the fun that was ahead. Crouch thanked the committee for allowing him to oversee the project.
Crouch said, “I’ve really enjoyed working with the community, working with Julie on the design of the playground. It’s a beautiful park. I think you’re going to love it. I want to thank her and the committee. You have put in so much time and effort and raised a ton of money. This is something that is truly extraordinary. It’s going to be an amazing addition to this community. I think you’re going to see a lot of people from a lot of parts of the state and out of state, who are going to be using this facility.”
Natalie Mackay, founder of Unlimited Play said Peyton Parker Lane Playground is the 84th playground they have opened. Unlimited Play also contributed to planning, designing, and development of the playground. According to unlimitedplay.org, Unlimited Play has collected information from children, parents of children with disabilities, veterans, therapists, and experts to help design playgrounds that will impact communities for generations to come.
Mackay, “When Eric said ‘extraordinary’, oh my goodness. You are a town of 9,000 people who raised $1.3 million. I have the opportunity to speak all over the nation, and I use your project as an example of what can be done, and I also say ‘please don’t think it’s possible in each and every place.’ It takes a committee like yours.”
Paul Jaekel, who spoke on behalf of the Peyton Parker Lane committee said, “This playground does not have to be the end of it. This does not have to be the end of the inclusion. This is just the beginning for York, Nebraska and the surrounding areas for inclusion. Let’s continue to love our neighbors this way, people.”
The mother of Lane McDaniel, April McDaniel said, they call this project "healing by helping."
“This is how we heal when we are dealing with adversity and when we are dealing with loss and I want you to think about that,” said McDaniel. “When you think about something that knocks you down and maybe shakes you up a little bit, you have a choice. You have a choice to do something great with it or you have a choice to sit back in your pity and be sad about it and do nothing. This is an example of people that came together that have fought through some adversity and loss. Let it be an example to you of what you can do through 'healing by helping.'”
Julie Hoffman, mother of Peyton and Parker, said, “When April and I stood at York General’s donation of $100,000, I looked at her and said ‘We’re not driving this bus anymore, God’s driving this bus.’ I thank him every day for growing up with two little sisters who had intellectual disabilities who taught me how to be the best mom I could be to Peyton and Parker. They were incredible individuals and they are missed dearly, but because of their lives and how they lived, this playground is here. I poured my heart and soul into this playground and I hope it shows and I hope it creates relationships with all kids of all abilities when they come here.”
The ribbon was cut and York Parks and Recreation Director Cheree Foltz shouted “Open the gate and go play!”
Kids poured into the golden gate from left and right. Those who were in wheelchairs were finally swinging, playing with musical instruments and various playground equipment just as the other children. This was no longer a once-in-a-lifetime moment, but a moment they will get to experience over and over again for years to come.
Original article here