Park in New Lenox offers adaptive recreational services

A new park in the southwest Suburbs is taking accessibility to a new level.  

The grand opening of the Leigh Creek South Park in New Lenox was held Thursday.

Keith Wallace from the Lincolnway Special Recreation Association pushed for this park, which offers adaptive and special recreational services to kids and adults in the southwest suburbs. 

"We wanted a space for everybody to come and use, where everybody can feel welcome, disability and non, to play together, and I think that's what we achieved," said Wallace.

The new park has basketball for all sizes and abilities. There are ramps, special swings and all of the surfaces are wheelchair ready for both kids and caregivers.

At the park entrance, there's a statue of 15-year-old Evan Hinrichs, which makes him a little uncomfortable, but his mom is thrilled to finally have a park like this.  


"Evan sat at the sideline and watched kids play for a lot of years, so it's exciting to see kids be able to wheel up and be with their peers," said LeAnn Hinrichs.

The backers of this park are clear that it's not just for people with disabilities, but it's a place for everyone to come together.

Irene Costello's twin 19-year-old boys have attended the Lincolnway Special Recreation Association for years. 

They'll now use this park, along with everyone else. Costello says the park will teach empathy to young children.  

"I think that it's important for them to feel like they are peers with each other, that they know that everybody has dignity, everybody has the right to just play," said Costello.

It took about seven years plus grants, park district money and old fashioned fundraising to pay for this million dollar park.