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Overhaul of La Crosse's Trane Park would accommodate people of all ages, abilities

Designs for the $5.9 million Trane Park renovation, seen here, include zones to allow everyone, regardless of age or ability, the opportunity to play together.

Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare has donated $125,000 to the All Abilities Trane Park project in La Crosse, a $6 million endeavor that is the first of its kind in the Midwest.

The park will allow people of all ages and abilities to play together in a safe environment without limitations.

Dr. Paul Mueller, Mayo's SW wisconsin regional VP


“We know that a healthy community requires more than access to quality medical care,” Dr. Paul Mueller said in announcing the donation Monday at Mayo-Franciscan’s Professional Arts Building.

“That’s why our commitment to the health of our patients, co-workers, families and neighbors extends beyond the walls of our facilities,” said Mueller, regional vice president of Mayo-Franciscan.

“We are pleased to offer support for projects that help to improve the health and well-being of everyone in our community,” he said.

The donation demonstrates the value that Mayo-Franciscan “places on diversity and the unique contributions of each person,” said Amy Hendrickson, a member of the All Abilities Trane Park Steering Committee and a board member of the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation.

In addition to providing opportunities for play and recreation for people of all abilities, the park at 15th and Chase streets will allow occupational, physical and speech therapists from medical institutions, area colleges and universities and school districts to integrate their therapies into a safe outdoor environment, Hendrickson said.

Katie Bakke, a Mayo-Franciscan occupational therapist who works with children and adults, is on the project’s steering committee and helped develop the plan for the 2-acre park.

The park — for which ground was broken in October and which is slated to be completed in the fall — will feature seven sensory play zones and specialized equipment designed to let people of all ages and abilities socialize and play with one another.

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Mike Tighe is the Tribune newsroom's senior citizen. That said, he don't get no respect from the cub reporters as he goes about his duly-appointed rounds on the health, religion and whatever-else-lands-in-his-inbox beats. Call him at 608-791-8446.

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