La Crosse All Abilities Trane Park completes dream of local families

Idea spanning 10 years by a group of local moms becomes reality

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A park for people of all abilities opened for the first time in La Crosse Wednesday. The $6 million All Abilities Trane Park near 15th and Chase streets is the only park of its kind in Wisconsin.

Construction on the park began three years ago, but the idea started about a decade ago. Several community organizations and a group of moms came up with the idea. They wanted to create a place where children with cognitive, sensory or other physical challenges could have a place where they can thrive and just be kids.

An estimated 12,000 people over the age of 5 in La Crosse County have disabilities. That is 12 percent of the population.

The park offers places for adults, too. Some spaces are designed for seniors so they can get outside. Organizers say this will be a destination for people throughout the nation. One mom who has been behind this project since the start said this will be a space for children to connect with their peers.

“Social skills are something that all kids need. Kidos on the spectrum are especially lacking in social skills,” Chris Jones said. “The fact that they can grow those here is gonna be wonderful.”

Jones said Illinois is the closest place with a similar park.

The property is fenced off to keep children safe. There are opportunities for organizations to use this space to help children learn and grow.

“I think the impact is endless. We’ve got therapists that are excited to do therapy here,” Jones said. “Day cares will use this, schools will use this. The options are endless. I think people will travel to La Crosse just to come to this park because it’s a safe place for their kids to be.”

For more information about the project itself and the people who made the park possible click here.