HASTINGS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — We’re walking along our ADA compliant sidewalk. A park is a great asset for a small town like Hastings. But these Girl Scouts see even more here. They dream of a state-of-the-art playground, accessible to everyone.
“It’s important so it can include people of all abilities, so nobody is excluded,” said Isabella Petitto.
Van Lieu Park has been here for about 40 years. And it’s best known for the athletic facilities, like the football field and the baseball diamond, which is all great for the older kids. But what the Girl Scouts would like to see is something aimed at the younger kids.
“Even I would get bored sitting there for an hour and a half football game, just sitting there, waiting for your siblings to get done. Ha,” said Angilee Haberer.
Her answer is a project called Extraordinary Acres. Angilee and her friends Molly, Rachel and Sophia have been thinking about this as their Girl Scout Silver Award Project for five years. When it’s finished, the playground will be a safe place for kids to play, including a multi-use court, an inclusive swing and a whirl ride that accommodates everyone.
“In order for us to do this, we had to network to people and help us build our team and find people to help us build this all-inclusive playground,” Petitto said.
The girls have gotten support from professionals throughout Central New York. And they’ve raised over $58,000, with a little over $30,000 to go.
They take a face-painting, henna art and spin-paint booth all over town, and hold spaghetti dinners and work all kinds of jobs to support the cause. And they’re asking neighbors to help with an online voting campaign to support their grant application to State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist program, in hopes of adding an accessible restroom to their project. And their troop, Girl Scout Troop 10871 in Central Square, is all in.
“The people in my troop are more like a family, and they’ll support us no matter what we do. And they will always try to do their best to make things possible, like this park,” said Haberer.
A park they really believe will be good for everyone.
You can help by voting for their “Extraordinary Acres All-Inclusive Playground” at neighborhoodassist.com/entry/2024215. Voters must be 18 years or older and a US citizen with valid e-mail address and you can vote up to ten times a day. Entries will be accepted through August 23rd.