The City of Galesburg is excited to announce that a new playground will be coming to H.T. Custer Park and Lancaster Park thanks to funding assistance received from GameTime through a program developed in partnership with Illinois Parks and Recreation Association.
In addition to receiving funding assistance, Elizabeth Varner, Director of Parks and Recreation, attended in-person training sessions on evidence-based best practices in play and recreation design and programming from PlayCore’s Center for Outreach, Research, and Education (CORE) with other parks, and recreation professionals. “This funding will be used to support the OSLAD Grant projects with the purchase of inclusive play equipment which also promotes physical activity and fitness for our community,” said Elizabeth Varner.
To align these learnings and foster inclusion, engagement with nature, and physical activity, the City of Galesburg, as an IPRA member agency, applied for funding assistance to develop a new play and recreation space that will put the research into practice. H.T. Custer Park and Lancaster Park are the designated sights, which also received the 2022 and 2023 OSLAD grants. The funding from GameTime and the OSLAD grants are complementary, which enables the City of Galesburg to utilize both awards to complete the park renovation projects.
“Building a great play and recreation space is an important step in making a successful park. An equally important step is making sure it’s a place that meets the needs of families for generations to come,” said Robert Barron, Senior Vice President at GameTime. “The educational training and professional development equip parks professionals with research and design best practices to create spaces everyone will love to visit, places that promote physical activity, and encourage people of all ages and abilities to play together.”
At the conclusion of this project, the space will be designated as a National Demonstration Site by PlayCore. National Demonstration Sites are part of a nationwide research project to collect, translate, and report anonymous usage data about the park and its long-term impact on the local community. These data reports help demonstrate how investing in parks and recreation results in positive outcomes, grows social capital, and builds strong communities through the power of play and recreation.
***Courtesy of the City of Galesburg***