50 Red Swings founder Lucienne Merkatz, center, her family, Mayor Keith Kazmark and members of the Borough Council check out the new adaptive swing at Zacarria Park.
The Borough sends its thanks to the “50 Red Swings” organization and founder Lucienne Merkatz, for donating our new adaptive red swing at Zacarria Park. Lucie, 18, wanted to find a way to encourage inclusivity, beginning at a young age, by making playgrounds across the U.S. more accessible for special needs children and she has done just that here in Woodland Park.
Lucie grew up with an uncle who is severely autistic. She was exposed, beginning at a young age, to some of the difficulties encountered by people with disabilities. She became sensitive to his disability and became passionate about how she could help others with developmental or physical challenges feel more included and connected among their peers.
Swinging provides a sense of calm and comfort for children and special needs children should not be excluded from enjoying these normal benefits of a swing, the organization notes. The Americans With Disabilities Act compliant adaptive swing is designed to hold disabled children up to 120 pounds.
Thanks to Christine Tarbox-Murphy and Claire Ann Triggiano-Centrella for bringing this organization to the Borough’s attention in order to better help serve the special needs community.
The red swing, which was installed by the Department of Public Works, is the first in New Jersey. The five year mission of 50 Red Swings, which is based in Chattanooga, Tenn., is to place at least one adaptive swing in each of the 50 states. To find out more, visit www.50redswings.org.