Playground Project Supports Inclusivity

Oct 18, 2023

HARRISBURG – Plans unveiled today for an inclusive playground at Fort Hunter Park demonstrate Dauphin County Parks & Recreation Department’s commitment to ensuring the park can be enjoyed by all.

Representatives from The GIANT Company joined parks officials and members of the project’s design review committee to announce a $50,000 contribution to the project as part of the company’s 100th anniversary celebration.

“The GIANT Company’s purpose is to connect families for a better future, and this inclusive playground is a perfect embodiment of that,” said Aaysha Noor, head of diversity, equity, and inclusion for The GIANT Company. “We look forward to seeing families from across the region enjoy this new space and create meaningful memories.”

The playground with ramped equipment; a poured, rubberized surface; concrete paths; and upgraded restrooms nearby will accommodate those who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Work will begin soon on the restrooms, with a groundbreaking anticipated in Spring 2024 for the playground.

School officials and advocates for persons with disabilities will serve on the $837,000 project’s design review committee, which received seed money from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Friends of Fort Hunter, and a Community Development Block Grant.

“Playgrounds like the one planned at Fort Hunter Park work to provide access for all, regardless of ability level, and we thank Dauphin County for prioritizing inclusive spaces,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “It is important that everyone has a chance to get outdoors and explore all Pennsylvania has to offer, and we know that local parks are often the gateway for adventures across the Commonwealth.”

The new playground equipment will replace an aging structure at the riverside park in Susquehanna Township. A slide, swings, and nature-based climbing feature will complement a custom, accessible canal boat feature that highlights the site’s history on the former Pennsylvania Canal.

“Dauphin County residents flocked to parks to get outside during the COVID-19 pandemic, and demand has remained strong as those people kept up with their walking, hiking, biking, kayaking and sports,” said Mike Pries, chairman of the Dauphin County Commissioners.

“Dauphin County’s eight-park system offers something for everyone, and the redesigned playground really reinforces that,” Commissioner Chad Saylor said. “We want to ensure ‘serving everyone’ truly means ‘everyone.’”

“Through the vision and collaboration of the Dauphin County Parks & Recreation Department, Dauphin County Human Services, invested partners like The GIANT Company and the Friends of Fort Hunter, we have transformed this area with a vision of an upgraded and accessible playground that will soon become reality,” Commissioner George P. Hartwick III said.