For an individual with a physical challenge, finding a park or playground that can be at least partially accommodating has become easier in recent years. However, for an individual with cognitive, sensory or other physical challenges, there remains no park in the state of Wisconsin designed to meet their specific needs.
This population is not insignificant - an estimated 12,190 people over the age of 5 have a disability in La Crosse County. That is 12% of the population.
Children and adults with special needs benefit from an enclosed play environment where they can safely explore and play with others of varied abilities. The All Abilities Trane Park Project will be designed to be fun and accessible; a community within a community that can bring together individuals of all ages – from toddlers to seniors – and all abilities to experience the simple, everyday joy of outside play.
Born out of a need in the community, the Park will provide an environment for those with cognitive, sensory, or physical challenges that encourages growth and socialization through play. It will not only benefit La Crosse County, but create a valued destination for the entire region.
With the All Abilities Trane Park Project, we are sending a clear message to current residents and anyone considering a move to the area – we provide an environment for those with special needs that cannot be found in any other Midwest community. In fact, with this park project, La Crosse can provide its residents with the kind of park that only exists in a handful of communities throughout the nation.
Trane Park was named in honor of Reuben Trane and Family, and was developed with a $35,000 gift from the Trane Company in 1954. The All Abilities Trane Park Project will transform the existing park into a common space where children and adults can play together, regardless of their cognitive, sensory, or physical needs.
The All Abilities Trane Park will influence decision making for prospective employees and families when considering La Crosse as a place to live or work. It will also enhance employee recruitment and retention for area institutions. The opportunities this park will provide for individuals with special needs cannot be found in any other Midwest location and exists in only a handful of communities across the United States.
People with disabilities are the nation's largest minority group, and the only one that anyone can join at any time.
All INDIVIDUALS Have the Right to Play
WHAT IS AN ALL ABILITIES PARK?
An all abilities park supports activity for anyone, regardless of age or ability. Within an enclosed perimeter, this sensory-rich environment enables individuals to develop physically, socially, and emotionally.
Providing a just-right level of challenge, the All Abilities Trane Park Project will offer everyone opportunities to succeed. With specially-designed activity zones, all individuals can play, learn, and grow together - developing strength and skills by simply having fun.
PROVIDERS ENCOURAGE PLAY
The All Abilities Trane Park will provide opportunities for occupational, physical, and speech therapists from Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, area colleges, universities, and school districts to integrate their therapy services into a safe outdoor environment. Healthcare and medical staff can also provide therapeutic treatment in this non-traditional setting.
The park employs therapeutic tools, equipment, and structures similar to those typically seen in therapy departments. This means individuals and caregivers will be able to continue programming outside of therapy rooms, maintaining therapies, and expanding on achievements.
A COMMUNITY WITHIN A COMMUNITY
The All Abilities Trane Park Project will offer a unique sense of community, not only for those who require care for sensory, cognitive, and physical challenges, but also for the caregivers themselves. Interacting with others who are experiencing similar challenges will help alleviate the sense of isolation those individuals so often feel.
Community-wide, sharing these individual achievements with people throughout the La Crosse area will be an invaluable source of support.