FLORENCE – The Florence Rotary Club, the Greater Shoals/Sheffield Rotary Club, and the Rotaract Club of University of North Alabama recently announced the founding of Rotary STAR Park, a Sensory, Tactile, and Adaptive Recreation park for all children. The park commemorates 100 years of Rotary service in the Shoals. 

“In Rotary we believe we must ‘Serve to Change Lives,’” said Tricia Lewis and Bill Armstrong, co-chairs of Rotary STAR Park. “This park will change the lives of all the STARs for whom it is being built.” 

STAR Park will be located in McFarland Park under O’Neal Bridge.  Construction is underway and is expected to be complete by late fall of this year.  It will feature playground equipment designed to meet ADA standards. This will include wide ramps and ladders to reach slides; sensory and interactive boards for hands-on activities; communication panels including sign language, Braille, and pictures; a wheelchair tricycle track; and an inclusive merry-go-round. The playground will be fenced to provide a safe zone for play. 

The city of Florence committed $125,000 for the park, and more than $200,000 additional funds will be raised through partnerships with Rotary, individual donations, and sales of recognition stars. 

“The Rotary Sensory, Tactile, and Adaptive Recreation Park is a much-needed addition to our parks and recreation infrastructure, and it further demonstrates the genuine care and concern Rotary has for all the citizens of Florence,” said Florence Mayor Andy Betterton. “I am grateful they chose to mark this momentous birthday by donating an inclusive playground for all abilities.” 

Rotary is an international service organization with approximately 1.2 million members worldwide. The Rotary Club of Sheffield was chartered in 1920 as the first Rotary Club in the Shoals Area. In 1921, it sponsored the Rotary Club of Florence. The Florence Rotary Club sponsored the Rotaract Club of University of North Alabama in 2018. 

To contribute to the park online with an engraved brick, for the park, please visit www.fundraisingbrick.com/online-orders/shoalsrotary/

For additional information regarding our engraved brick campaign please contact

Tricia Lewis at RotaryStarPark@gmail.com or call 256-648-5546.