A decade ago around the time that the Hamden Dog Park opened, Hamden resident Jennifer Tramontano had something of an epiphany.
The town has a wonderful place for its residents to take their dogs to play, but there was no where for her son Josh, who uses a wheelchair, to play with his friends.
Tramontano, with Josh and her husband Harry, began what turned out to be a 10-year quest to get the town to construct an all-abilities playground where Josh could bring his friends and all have fun together. It's rough to utilize a standard playground in a wheelchair.
"I want to play on a playground with my friends," said Josh, now 14.
Three years ago Julie Smith, Mayor Scott Jackson's Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, heard about the project and worked to make it a reality.
"I started to push it forward," she said. She gave Josh the option of picking the park's theme, and thus was born "Josh's Jungle."
The playground is designed for children with special needs but it will be available to children with all abilities. It's set to be installed at Town Center Park and its $400,000 price tag will be paid for with a state grant. No town funds will be used to construct the park, Smith said.
The Legislative Council Monday approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with Design Built LLC, which does business as Childscapes, for the project, which is anticipated to be completed by June.
"I'm very excited about this and I can't wait to see it go up," said council president Judi Kozak.
On Tuesday the playground's plans go before the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Once all the approvals are in place, construction will start in the spring and should be done by June, according to John Lee of Childscapes.