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updated: 7/21/2011 5:42 PM

Antioch directs residents to Lindenhurst Parks for special needs programs

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By Samantha Bilharz

Antioch village officials have decided not to offer recreation programs for children with special needs, and instead are directing residents to the nearby Lindenhurst Park District.

The decision stemmed from a discussion at Wednesday's Antioch park's commission meeting where various ideas were considered about making programs for special needs children and adults more accessible for village residents.

Ideas including creating a special recreation association and levying a special recreation tax were discussed.

However, officials determined the best solution was to inform Antioch residents they can use Lindenhurst Park District's special needs recreational programs in which the nonresident fee is waived.

"Lindenhurst has offered us the opportunity to send our children from Antioch to Lindenhurst at no nonresident fee, which is a big thing. It's a little drive, but the residents in Antioch can participate in the programs at Lindenhurst at no additional cost," Director of Parks and Recreation Michael Kudla said.

A factor in the decision, officials said, is Antioch is not able to provide special needs programs due to the lack of space, funds and experienced people to run those programs.

"I don't think, at this point, Antioch can provide special programs for special needs children," Kudla said. "It would be very expensive because you have children with needs that are so far-ranging it's hard to have a program in a small town like this."

The issue was brought to the attention of the commission because Kudla received multiple phone calls from Antioch parents regarding programs for their children with special needs.

Currently, the Lindenhurst Park District offers 30 trips, events and classes for children with special needs, ranging in price from $10 to $40.

To get the word out, Antioch will include information in brochures and newsletters.

"It's quite possible that recreational activities are even more important for residents with special needs to give them the ability to get out and get active and socialize," Kudla said.