The city of Goshen, in partnership with ADEC, Inc., has begun work to develop a sensory trail after being awarded more than $150,000 funds through a new state/federal grant program.

The city was one of 11 communities in Indiana that collaborated with non-profits to receive federal funding through the new Community Connections for People with Disabilities Grant Program. The opportunity was presented through a partnership between the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services.

Goshen was awarded $155,322 for the sensory trail, which will help connect individuals with disabilities to the health benefits and wonder of nature. The funds will be used, in part, for consultation hours with music and recreational therapists for enhancing the sensory experience of the trails. Funds also will be used for the development of a smartphone application for exploration of the trail.

In 2019, the city’s first fully inclusive playground, Kerry’s Kids Playground, was built on Hay Park.

“We are fortunate to have an organization like ADEC providing the services they do in our community; what better partner to work with on a project that further promoted inclusivity than them,” Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said.

Donna Belusar, CEO and president of ADEC, said the organization’s partnership with the City of Goshen supports their continued effort of community inclusion for those with disabilities.

“ADEC’s commitment to ensure that individuals and families with an intellectual and developmental disability live lives filled with informed choice and possibilities runs deep in Elkhart County,” she said.

“We know that communities that embrace inclusivity help create neighborhoods that our families and individuals we serve flourish in,” Belusar added. “Community integration creates room for our clients to live more independently; help them improve on their social skills so that they may develop meaningful relationships; and educates the community on the abilities of the people that we serve. Most importantly, this project will show our commonalities, not our differences, and our shared love for nature.”

The deadline to complete the project is the fall of this year.

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