Village Re-Dedicates Kevin Hertz Memorial Playground

Village Re-Dedicates Kevin Hertz Memorial Playground
Posted on 10/05/2012

When it debuted during the village's Centennial Celebration, the Kevin Hertz Memorial Playground was one of the area's first accessible playgrounds for children of all abilities.

The Village of Orland Park will hold a ribbon cutting and rededication ceremony for the newly remodeled Kevin Hertz Memorial Playground on Saturday, October 6, at 2:00 p.m. The playground is located near the concession stands in the village's Centennial Park, at 15600 West Avenue.

Originally constructed in 1992, the playground is dedicated to the memory of an Orland Park child who was born with spina bifida. Kevin Hertz died in 1990, at the age of 11, following complications from a surgery.

"The Kevin Hertz Memorial Playground has been a wonderful addition to the village's parks system for the last 20 years. I'm sure it will bring smiles to the faces of the children who play here which is fitting since Kevin was always smiling. It will enable individuals with special needs to enjoy this beautiful playground," said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin.

This past September, the village's Parks Department completely renovated the playground. New equipment includes a rubberized play surface, making it easier for all children to maneuver. The newly renovated park was designed with a ball playing theme matching nearby ballfields.

"This is a very special occasion for the Village of Orland Park," said Trustee Pat Gira, chair of the village's Recreation and Parks Committee. "It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since we all gathered to remember Kevin when we first dedicated the playground," said Gira, who was on the village's Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission when the playground was dedicated. "It's nice to remember him again and celebrate the playground being refurbished," she said.

The new play area includes two separate play structures, one that is 100 percent handicapped accessible and the second being nearly 80 percent accessible.

"We give the most sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who initially supported this ‘accessible to all' playground," said Mary Kay Hertz, Kevin's mother. "It is truly wonderful that Kevin's memory has been kept alive as the play area is improved with its mobility friendly surface and state of the art equipment," she added.

Saturday's ceremony is open to the public. Further information about the playground is available by calling the village's Parks Department at 708/403-6219.