Lewis Park, an ADA-compliant playground at 3120 1st Ave West in Bradenton, opened for play again in mid-June after a nearly year-long closure, marking a big milestone for children with disabilities. The park had been closed for 10 months while two ADA-compliant playground areas, one for ages 2-5 and another for 5-12-year-olds, were built. The park’s playgrounds feature equipment that can be accessed by wheelchairs and spaces that accommodate many kinds of disabilities.
The groundbreaking for the new park took place on October 11, 2022 after an extensive fund-raising campaign, spearheaded by Rotary’s Suncoast Playground Projects, Inc. and Rotary Clubs of Manatee County, a network of several Rotary Club organizations based in Manatee County. The groups received the official go-ahead to proceed with the park after the Bradenton City Council approved Mayor Gene Brown’s recommendation to move forward as a partner in the project.
While it has been open since June, the park has yet to have an official grand opening ceremony. That last formality is hopefully to be scheduled before the end of the year.
Lewis Park’s playground is the only purpose-built destination of its kind in the area, serving children of all ages and abilities in the City of Bradenton, Manatee County, and our surrounding area. It was already a very popular neighborhood park set several blocks from the hustle and bustle of busy Manatee Avenue.
The cost of developing the new playground in Lewis Park was estimated at $415,000.
Even with the new playgrounds, Lewis Park is a neighborhood, community park. It has numerous shade trees and is next door to the Manatee River Garden Club. It is an ideal spot for a picnic or simple stroll in the shade. Small, pedestrian bridges span a small creek where various Florida water fowl linger during the day.
Ample parking is available between the Garden Club building and the park itself.