NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — A park reopened in Normal on Monday morning following a year-long project on the playground.

The Town of Normal cut the ribbon on a new playground at Carden Park surrounded by Prairieland Elementary students and officials from Unit 5 schools.

Carden Park shares land with the school and is one of Normal’s most used playgrounds according to Parks and Rec director, Doug Damery.

Damery said the park’s former playground was one of the oldest in Normal. The new equipment is more up-to-date.

“This is the new standard we’d like to meet when we install new playgrounds,” Damery said.

It was a year-long project after Normal Town Council approved the purchase of the playground equipment in Sept 2021.

“It was the oldest playground that we had in our system, so it was a great opportunity for us to set that model in place,” Damery said.

Damery said the plan is to eventually replace and modernize all playground equipment in Normal parks.

“Just trying to raise the bar on the ADA standard of what we’ve always met before, but now try to exceed that,” Damery said.

The park’s new playground, ramps, and sensory chairs for students of all abilities cost around $180,000.

“Just the surface alone makes it much more accessible to all kids whether they have mobility issues or on a wheelchair or whatnot,” Damery said.

“We’ve had students in the past and currently do who require a little bit extra time and assistance to get from one thing to the next,” said Scott Peters, principal at Prairieland Elementary.

Monday morning, Prairieland Elementary–which backs up to the park, lets their students break it in.

“They’ve been literally every day since school started asking, when is it going to be ready Mr. Peters,” Peters said.

Scott Peters says it was a collaborative project between Unit 5 and the town. Even the students pitched in.

“Students got to all vote on the color scheme which was absolutely awesome; every single child and staff member got to vote and this is what they selected,” Peters said.

Carden Park is open to all community members from dawn to dusk.