OurSpace, NY's largest fully accessible playground, opens in Binghamton

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Hundreds of enthusiastic children and adults turned out at Recreation Park in Binghamton Tuesday for the opening of the state's largest fully accessible playground.

Students from nearby Horace Mann Elementary helped to christen OurSpace Park.

The four-acre project inside Rec Park includes an all-access playground, tree deck, garden and other gathering spaces for young and old.

Construction began in March and was completed by Parks and Rec employees and over 900 volunteers who logged 52 hundred hours of work.

Mayor Rich David says it's all about tearing down barriers.

"Barriers keeping individuals with disabilities from enjoying recreation with their families. Barriers for wounded veterans, senior citizens, or anyone who wants the opportunity to independently enjoy life to its fullest," said David.

The playground includes a Liberty Swing which can hold a wheelchair and up to 500 pounds.

"Watching the parents' faces, finally seeing the freedom of their children to play equally in the park was the moment for me where I thought, 'That's good, that's why you do it.'  And I'm so glad I did," said OurSpace Coordinator Jen O'Brien.

The concept for OurSpace came from Jen O'Brien, founder of the Magic Paintbrush Project, in conjunction with the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Scholars at Binghamton University.

The state provided half a million dollars in funding through the regional economic development council and an additional $140,000 was raised from local foundations, businesses and individuals.

Add in the volunteers and in-kind support from local contractors and Mayor David says the city received a $1 million project, with no additional cost to taxpayers.


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