On Tuesday, city officials joined together with staff from Mercy Hospital and Allina Health to celebrate the new inclusive playground at Mercy Park.
"Partnerships like this one with Mercy and the Allina Health Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute are critical to the community," Coon Rapids Mayor Jerry Koch said, to the crowd gathered at Mercy Park.
The Allina Health Foundation made a $40,000 donation to the City of Coon Rapids parks department to make upgrades the park. The plan was to make it more accessible to even more children ages five to 12.
Rehabilitation manager Sara Rohde of Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute says she’s excited for their pediatric patients to be able to use the park.
"We anticipate that this park will be used by families who live nearby and it's a wonderful options for therapy sessions for our clients," Rohde said.
The improvements to Mercy Park took place this summer. According to Coon Rapids parks superintendent Gregg Engle, the detailed work that went into the rubberized surface which surrounds the playground was labor intensive.
"That rubber surfacing is able to absorb and to help eliminate injuries and also for wheelchair accessibility and walkers and things of that nature,” Engle said.
Pediatric physical therapist Jessica Jacklitch likes to use a lot of the playground's special features with her clients.
"To able to come together and make something that we could use in treatment more often, just the quick walk across the parking lot to get to it and to watch their eyes light up when they can get to the things that they want to play with," Jacklitch said.
Meanwhile, the city’s partnership with the Allina Health Foundation continues as they plan to raise funds for a future, phase two of improvements at Mercy Park.