Build Jake’s Playground heals a family; lifts up a community
“Grief is exhausting. You don’t want to wake up from it,” admits Lynn Cummings. Her grandson Jacob Myles Cummings Nasto passed away in 2008. Jake’s rare heart condition, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, kept him in the hospital for operations and away from his favorite place: the playground.
“Jake’s disability made it difficult for him to play on the playground, but he loved it there. He’d light up when other kids were around. Seeing them have fun was his motivation,” she recalls.
Jake received his physical therapy on the local playground, which is typical for special needs children.
After Jake passed away, his parents Joseph Nasto and Kate Cummings were devastated. “My daughter [Kate] was never happy. But when we received a gift to do something in memory of Jake, she knew what to do: build a playground. This idea gave us life,” Lynn explains.
More and more communities are recognizing the importance of accessible, inclusive play for children of all abilities and are putting this awareness into action. The fall 2015 opening of a state-of-the-art community and recreation center in Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania included a vibrant, inclusive playground.
General Recreation worked with Christopher Green, Senior Landscape Architect at Gilmore & Associates, to complete this expansive playground for 2 to 12 year-olds. Both companies have teamed up on various projects over the past 15 years.
“It’s great to work with Chris,” says Garry Helmuth, Gen Rec playground consultant. “His firm is respected and recognized across the region for their park and playground design work. You know when they’re involved, the project will be well-planned and well-designed, resulting in a beautiful, sustainable facility for the client.”
Play And Music For All: Harmony Playground at Saylor Park in Lititz, PA
Lititz, PA is a small, yet mighty town. Over the past two years, community members, organizations and businesses teamed up to raise $80,000 to incorporate accessible playground equipment into Saylor Park.
Aptly named “Harmony Playground,” this play area now includes inclusive play structures for all ages, as well as Landscape Structures’ Rhapsody Outdoor Musical Instruments, celebrating Lititz’s music industry.