by Maureen Mason-Spatz
LANSING, Ill. (August 2017) – Van Laten Park is located at 183rd Street and Holland Road, nestled south and east of the De Jong family farmland. What makes Van Laten Park unique is the “StoryWalk” feature that now incorporates the exercise path surrounding the park.
The StoryWalk includes 20 reading stations where 1–2 pages of a book are displayed. Children can travel the path and read the story alone or with their families. A new book will be featured each month. The August book is Mark Teague’s How I Spent my Summer Vacation.
Sharon Desjardins is the Senior Superintendent of Strategy & Operations for the Lan-Oak Park District. She helped bring the StoryWalk concept to life, and she found Van Laten to be the ideal location. Financial assistance from three Lansing churches—In The Upper Room Ministries, St. John’s Lutheran Church, and New Hope Church—helped make the vision reality.
To further promote reading, Van Laten Park is the newest location for a Little Free Library, joining the one at Clocktower Plaza and the one in front of TF South. Little Free Libraries encourage visitors to borrow a book for as long as they like, and to bring books for others to borrow.
Lansing resident David Pocius and his daughter Emily appreciate the updates to Van Laten park and consider them evidence that “Lansing does care,” he said. The first time he and Emily visited the renovated park, he said, “I was blown away by how nice everything is.” A lifelong Lansing resident, Pocius is intentional about spending outdoor time with his family, and Lansing parks accommodate that.
Walkers Larisa and Helen Chukwulebe agree. Approaching the path, they said, “It’s a nice option within the neighborhood, rather than a treadmill. The oxygen and sunshine are great for our health!”
Like all Lansing parks, Van Laten Park is open from 8:00am until dusk. For more information, call Lan-Oak Park District: 708-474-8552.
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