Good eggs

Sensory-friendly Easter Egg Hunt planned for Lacy Park Playground

Times Observer file art

An egg-citing event that promises eggs-ercise for everyone will be held for the first time this year just in time to celebrate Easter.

The Lacy Park “Egg”cellent Easter “Shell”ebration will take place at Lacy Park on Saturday, April 20 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., with an Egg Hunt beginning at 3. The event will be sensory-friendly and all-inclusive.

The park is located at 18 N. Marion St. in Warren. Off-street parking will be available courtesy of the Warren ShurFine.

Lacy Park will be undergoing upgrades, thanks in part to a $265,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to the city in support of the Lacy Park Sensory Playground Project. The event has been planned to fit with the goals of the park project.

There will be a quiet section for individuals who may become overwhelmed by the noise and commotion of the celebration. Ear plugs will be available.

There will be a wheelchair-friendly egg hunt on the blacktop of the basketball court. Magnetic eggs and reaching sticks will be used for the hunt.

Gluten-free, sugar-free and dye-free options will be available for those with allergies and food sensitivities.

Individuals who want to celebrate but are uncomfortable with the egg hunt can choose to take part in egg marbling and pudding paint. These are messy activities and it is suggested that participants wear or bring appropriate clothing.

As the first sensory-friendly event takes place at the park, efforts continue to raise funds needed to transform the park. The DCNR grant funds must be matched by the city. In an effort to alleviate the financial load on the city, the Rotary Club of Warren, Warren County Development Association and Forest Warren Mental Wellness Association have partnered in the fundraising efforts.

Rotary Club President Adam Meneo estimated there is about $40,000 in matching funds banked for the project so far. There are several new grant applications pending approval and fundraisers continue to take place and be planned.

New amenities planned at the park include off-street ADA-compliant parking, ADA-compliant bathrooms, a new pavilion and a connectivity path to all areas of the park for easy access.

The focus of the project is to provide playground equipment tailored to the needs of children on the special needs spectrum. The equipment will appeal to tactical and auditory senses — it can be manipulated and will make sounds.

The project also includes a special type of swing designed for those in a wheelchair. The swing that’s being considered allows children to wheel right up to a ramp, lock in and then swing away, according to Meneo.

The Sensory Playground Project is set to begin construction in the spring of 2020.

Donations from individuals or businesses can be sent to the Warren County Development Association, 308 Market St., Warren, PA 16365.

For more information about the project visit the website at lacyparkforestwarrenpa.com or at Facebook.com/LacyParkPlayground.

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