DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. —A playground in southwest suburban Downers Grove was named one of the most inclusive school playgrounds in the United States.

Owen’s Playground for Kids of All Abilities at Hillcrest Elementary School in Downers Grove Grade School District 58 ranked third on the top-10 list.  

The school and healthcare staffing company Soliant compiled the list. Several factors were considered, including inclusive design, quality and quantity of accessible play features and any unique stories behind the playground’s origin.   

The idea behind Owen’s Playground came from an eighth-grade student whose brother struggled with mobility issues from cerebral palsy. 

“Owen’s Playground for Kids of All Abilities came to fruition thanks to the incredible generosity of the Hillcrest community and many local businesses and organizations,” said District 58 Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell. “We appreciate their support very much! District 58 is very proud to provide an all-accessible playground that benefits not only Hillcrest students but also children of all abilities throughout the region.”

The playground has double-wide wheelchair-accessible ramps, a wheelchair-accessible rocker, sensory panels, accessible touch and play elements, and safety surfacing that accommodates wheelchairs and other mobility devices.