It's certainly amazing when a community comes together for a cause. When that cause is to help parents whose children had been kidnapped, it's really something else. On July 9, 1987, twelve-year-old Jennifer Schweiger went missing. Hundreds of volunteers joined together in a search that lasted thirty-five days. On August 13, 1987, a body had been found in a shallow grave at the site of the Staten Island Developmental Center in Willowbrook, an institution for mentally disabled children. As it turned out, the body was indeed that of Jennifer Schweiger.
In 1971, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation acquired a site of roughly one-and-a-half acres in the neighborhood of Graniteville. At the time, the park that was constructed there was known simply as Graniteville Park. On August 4, 1997, thanks to the community group Friends of Jennifer, the park was dedicated to Jennifer Schweiger. Today, it is known as Jennifer's Playground. The current boundaries of Jennifer's Playground are the Staten Island School of Civic Leadership to the west and the streets of Elson Court, Jules Drive, and Regis Drive. These streets border the park on the east, south, and north, respectively.
What makes this park so unique is the fact that it was the first park in Staten Island to provide recreation facilities for children who have special needs. The Friends of Jennifer and Staten Island's Community Board One pushed for this type of park, as Jennifer Schweiger, herself, had Down's syndrome. All of the recreational features within Jennifer's Playground are completely wheelchair-accessible. Due to this fact, Jennifer's Playground is alternatively known as the Jennifer Schweiger Adaptive Playground for All Children.
Inside the Jennifer's Playground, you will find your usual facilities, such as a basketball court, play equipment, and spray showers. The difference between these facilities and the facilities in other parks is that these, as stated, cater to disabled children. For example, the baskets of the basketball hoops are adjustable. In addition to these facilities, there are also game tables, a picnic area, sandboxes, and sensory trails. In 1998, a new addition was made to the park. This was the creation of the Graniteville Recreation Building, which also accommodates children with special needs.Posted by Anthony Licciardello on