Peyton Parker Lane Playground, York Parks and Rec recognized for excellence

Peyton Parker Lane Playground drone - York, NE

YORK – York’s Peyton Parker Lane Playground and York Parks and Recreation were recently recognized by the Nebraska Parks and Recreation Association for excellence.

Drone photo courtesy of Cyan and Derek Lunzmann

Peyton Parker Lane Playground received this year’s NERPA Parks and Facilities Development Award. Michaela Stuhr received the organization’s 2023 President’s Award. And Cheree Folts, the city’s parks and recreation director received the Distinguished Service Award.

During the recent awards night, presenters talked about what set these people and this project above the rest.

“The Peyton Parker Lane Playground opened May 13, 2023 inside Mincks Park in York.  The playground is for all people with all degrees of abilities to enjoy a day of play. A place that not only benefits the York, Nebraska community and county but to bring people from surrounding communities. A place that is comfortable for all people young and old, able bodied or not. To bring a positive experience for all that enter and spend time here.

“The playground provides:

  • a play space that promotes and encourages full inclusion of children and adults with all degrees of
  • an environment that breaks social and physical barriers, and gives the opportunity for children with disabilities to interact without feeling different.
  • a space that parents and grandparents with disabilities can easily interact and play with their children and
  • elevated play components, ramps with double handrails, rubber surfacing, activity panels, a Rock ‘n Ship Glider, an in- ground Merry Go Kids Zipline with specialized seating. Extra spacing around play equipment, letting all wheelchair users’ adequate space to get around. Quiet spaces, where children can play without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Site amenities such as benches, and picnic tables so that all wheelchairs’ users can access them. To place signs and designate areas in the picnic area for those who live with food allergies. Grouping similar activities together, such as the musical area. Grouping age-appropriate equipment together. Shaded areas over picnic tables and benches, and areas that people would be more stationary
  • awareness of inclusion, and bring our community together in a space that is equal for all. Bringing children together to play side-by-side with their siblings, friends, and providing a safe place for families to
  • Building community pride! When children and adults of all abilities experience the value of play, it will bring a community together in remarkable

“Outside of being a fantastic park, the Peyton Parker Lane committee is a group of local heroes.  Their dream of bringing this park to a reality is incredible.  It started with a simple Facebook post after the NeRPA conference that was held in Lincoln and ended with a 100% inclusive park in less than two years. The committee raised $1.2 million in 13 months.”

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Regarding Folts, presenters said, “This dedicated professional graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2009 with a bachelor of science degree in sports management and coaching. While at Wesleyan, she was the student director of intramural sports. After graduation, she became the recreational coordinator for the city of York from 2010-2014 and in 2014, she became the parks and recreation director. In her time with York, she has led a multi-million dollar renovation project on their facilities, opened an 8-field ballpark complex and has created Fun City which has transformed the community center into the ultimate family-friendly facility by providing activities for children ages six months to upper elementary. She has been a member of NERPA since 2011 and has been the secretary of the association since 2013. She is also the current chair of the Athletics Committee and Development Grant. In her time with NERPA, she has been awarded the outstanding Recreation Professional in 2015 and the President’s Award in 2020. This person has done an outstanding job representing the goals and values of our state association in her local community and in her responsibilities of the NERPA. Through her leadership and skills as the association’s secretary, she has kept the board on track and has served as the key link between the executive board and the general membership.”

And they recognized Stuhr, saying, “This deserving individual has been an integral part of our board. This person’s cheerful attitude, calm presence and can-do attitude is second to none. She is a consummate professional in her duties and goes above and beyond expectations in support of our association’s mission. This year’s recipient has volunteered to chair or assist with numerous committees over the course of the past couple of years. She has helped facilitate improvement in our social media presence across several platforms while highlighting association activities and articles of interest from the RAP. The 2023 recipient has been a key resource when planning and coordinating the holiday workshop and everything it entails. The knowledge, initiative and professionalism of this year’s recipient is second to none. We are fortunate to have such a driven individual serving this association in the matter she does.”

Parks and Recreation Awards

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