PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– A new inclusive playground is being built this week at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Peoria.
Pastor Lisa Dietrich says it will have a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round and multi-faceted structure with ramps. Children can also play together on the swings, a toddler swing, an accessible swing, and off-leash dog area.
“For us, it was about being welcoming to all people and all families, regardless of abilities, so if we were going to do a playground, we were going to do it to the best of our ability,” says Pastor Lisa.
According to the pastor, the congregation has fully funded the $200,000 all-inclusive playground.
She says the church sits on 13 acres of beautiful land in the middle of the city. They want to make this a park for the neighborhood and the Greater Peoria community.
According to the pastor, this playground and plans for the St. Paul land have been in the design and planning phase for nearly a year.
“Personally I am a grandma of 17 and a couple of those (children) are autistic and we have children of special needs in our family as well,” she says. “So not just as a pastor or leader of this congregation, but also as a nana (grandma) to think about all children and their abilities.”
She says they are an open and welcoming church, wants children to come and play, not sit on the sidelines.
Also built into this playground is a serenity spot, for a child that may need that too.