Park Opens to Serve All Community

(Thursday, October 26, 2006 10:49 AM EDT)
A three-lane wheelchair racetrack and a classic American carousel aren't what most children and parents expect from their local playground. But these are just of few of the unusual features at Clemyjontri Park in McLean, which officially opened on Oct. 9.

Clemyjontri is the vision of Adele Leibowitz who donated her 18-acre estate to the Fairfax Park Authority. More than two acres of the land are dedicated to a handicapped accessible playground, and the rest of the land will be used for gardens, trails and open space. The family home will remain on the site.

“Clemyjontri recognizes that all children should be included,” said Steve Thormahlen, chairman of the Fairfax County Park Foundation board of directors at the park's opening ceremony. “Children of all abilities will find delight playing together.”

The Clemyjontri playground has amenities for visitors with special needs, such as ramps between structures, lowered monkey bars and safety surfacing.

“If you're in a wheelchair or a walker, it's not always possible to access parks,” said Judy Pederson, Fairfax County Parks public information officer. “We find it very important to have a resource like this.”

The playground is divided into four quadrants: one focuses on educational learning games and play, another has a transportation theme, a third has a “Fitness-n-Fun” theme and the fourth plays host to the carousel.

Leibowitz was praised effusively for her vision and generosity at the park's opening ceremony. A plaque was unveiled in her honor, along with plaques dedicated to all the park's donors.

“Victory has 1,000 fathers, but here we have one mother, said Rep. Tom Davis, D-11th. The park is “the first of its kind,” he said.

“This sets the standard,” Davis said.

For more information on Clemyjontri Park, visit the Web site at

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