The good news is that the village of Riverside finally seems ready to join a special recreation cooperative. The questions are, what took so long and which special rec association to join?
We are befuddled that a town with the caring instincts of Riverside has spent so long tinkering around the cheap edges of offering special rec services to its residents. Virtually every neighboring community long ago signed on and ponied up for special recreation services. So this new village board direction to explore its options and then to take action is overdue.
While we are not expert on all aspects of special recreation services, we’d take the lead of the 30 residents who turned out Feb. 15 to bring pressure on the board to act. What we heard is that the key to making this service work for residents and their special needs offspring is proximity to services and easily accessible transportation provided by the co-op. It is only if there is strong participation in the programs from local residents – proximity and transportation – that relationships can grow among both the youngsters and their parents.
Fostering that sense of community within this local special needs community is vital and just a part of what a local government should willingly, enthusiastically offer.
With that in mind, we’d favor the services offered by the West Suburban Special Recreation Association. Yes, it costs more as it provides more local program offerings and a strong transportation program. That would be worth the added cost.
We’re with Trustee Wendell Jisa who said last week at the board table, “Building friendships in these programs is what I think is most important for us as a community to try and deliver to these families.”
To that we’d only add, “Our families.”