Lincolnway Special Recreation Association participants and their families break ground for the new LWSRA Recreation Center in New Lenox. The facility will open in early 2014. | Supplied photo
Updated: June 20, 2013 6:09AM
The Lincolnway Special Recreation Association officially broke ground April 27 for its recreation facility on 5.6 acres in the Heather Glen subdivision of New Lenox.
Once completed in early 2014, the 17,000-square-foot building will be the first of its kind in Illinois. It will enable LWSRA to more effectively serve more than 230 area residents who are challenged with various disabilities.
LWSRA serves six member park districts: Frankfort, Manhattan, Mokena, New Lenox, Peotone and Wilmington Island.
Among its many programs serving children to adults are summer day camps, social activities and sports programs.
The LWSRA Recreation Center will include a wheelchair-accessible gymnasium and softball field, teaching kitchen, therapy garden, classrooms and office space.
LWSRA’s administrative offices now are at Lincoln-Way Central High School, and the association — which provides more than 200 programs annually — relies on area schools and member park district facilities to host activities.
The new building will allow LWSRA to expand its programs and significantly reduce program waiting lists.
More than 125 elected community and park district dignitaries, LWSRA staff members, area residents and program participants and their parents were in attendance during the groundbreaking ceremony.
The majority of funding for the center is from a $2.5 million Illinois Department of Natural Resources Park and Recreational Facility Construction grant secured by the New Lenox Park District. An additional $50,000 was contributed by the Lincolnway Special Recreation Foundation, and that check was presented by foundation president Jeff Boubelik to LWSRA executive director Lana Graser and recreation Supt. Keith Wallace during the ceremony.
Financial support also has come from donations and fundraisers that LWSRA hosted to increase community awareness. An upcoming fundraiser is the foundation’s annual golf outing Aug. 9 at Sanctuary Golf Course in New Lenox.
“We will someday be defined by the differences we’ve made in the lives that we’ve touched. And the impact is much greater when we work together,” Boubelik said. “That’s why the Lincolnway Special Recreation Foundation is so important. Together, as parents and residents of the Lincoln-Way community, we can make an ever-lasting difference in serving the special-needs population. It is our responsibility to take care of one another. This is the legacy we will leave for generations to come.”
For more information, visit www.LWSRA.org or call (815) 462-2900.