LifeTown Receives $500K Grant to Build Sensory Park

A $500,000 grant from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey will help the LifeTown organization build an indoor sensory park and playground for children, it announced Tuesday.

The 47,000-square-foot LifeTown in Livingston will be home to Friendship Circle, which provides programming for children and teens with special needs, and their families. LifeTown will also offer social, recreational, therapeutic and educational programs to the community at large, Friendship Circle said in a news release announcing the grant.

“The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey is keenly aware of the difficulties facing families with special-needs children and is thrilled to play a role in making LifeTown a reality in our community,” Marsha Atkind, executive director of the foundation, said in a prepared statement. “The sensory playground funded by HFNJ will help to enrich the lives and facilitate the development of special-needs children and their families.”

Now, thanks to the foundation’s grant to LifeTown’s capital campaign, the organization will be able to build a state-of-the-art, fully accessible site at which children of all ages and abilities can have fun.

The sensory park will include a gated entrance, trees, benches, a rock-climbing wall, cheese pit, swings, slides and more, Friendship Circle said.

“The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey was a catalyst in the creation and initial growth of Friendship Circle,” Zalman Grossbaum, Friendship Circle’s executive director, said in a statement. “We now look forward to their continued partnership in building LifeTown. The impact of their generous gift will benefit thousands of children for years to come.”

LifeTown has raised nearly $8 million toward its expected cost of $13.5 million, Friendship Circle said.