AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Officials have broke ground on Amsterdam’s first sensory-friendly, all-inclusive playground. The new playground will be located at the Barkley School in the Greater Amsterdam School District (GASD).

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said he secured $450,00 in funding for the new playground. Santabarbara was joined by City of Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinquanti and GASD Superintendent Richard Ruberti for the groundbreaking.

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“Playtime is an essential part of a child’s development that all children, regardless of their ability, deserve,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “This new park will ensure children with disabilities in our community have a safe, welcoming place to play. As the father of a son with autism, I know how important a project like this is and how much this means to local families.”

Inclusive playgrounds are designed to accommodate children with and without disabilities, said Santabarbara. The playground can also help foster acceptance and empathy in children at a young age.

”The sensory-friendly apparatus to be located in this new playground will fill a critical gap that currently exists in our city’s recreational resources,” said Cinquanti.

“Inclusive playgrounds welcome children of all ages and abilities to play, learn and grow together,” said Ruberti. “As a school district, providing opportunities for inclusive play ensures that all our students experience the benefits of physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.”