Playground opens in Webster child’s memory
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello recently joined Anne Marie and AJ Heiligman, the parents of Jack Heiligman, for the grand opening of Jack’s Place in Webster Park.
The dinosaur-themed playground honors the memory of 3-year-old Jack Heiligman, who died in October 2016. This is the second Jack’s Place playground constructed by the Just Acts of Caring and Kindness Foundation, established by Jack’s parents after his death to inspire the community to perform random acts of kindness and raise funds for community playgrounds. The first Jack’s Place opened in Penfield’s Rothfuss Park in August 2017.
“I’m humbled to stand with the Heiligman family to celebrate the bittersweet opening of the second Jack’s Place playground,” Bello said. “The Heiligmans suffered an unimaginable loss, but have found the strength to transform their grief into a force that helps make our community better for everyone. I hope we can all honor Jack’s memory by enjoying these playgrounds and by always remembering to be kind to one another.”
Jack’s Place in Webster is located on the south side of Holt and Lake roads. Three things Jack loved are incorporated into its design: dinosaurs, climbing and the color blue. The playground features a wooden playground with slides, climbing walls, monkey bars, swings, balancing bridges, two O’Tannenbaum spinners and a dinosaur dig, where children can unearth faux dinosaur bones hidden in blue rubber mulch. It also has a Little Library where families can borrow and donate new and used books.
“We are beyond thankful for the continued community support of our family for the past three years,” Anne Marie and AJ Heiligman said. “The JACK Foundation and Jack’s Place playgrounds help us cope everyday with our loss and bring us some peace. We are grateful we can keep Jack’s memory alive with these playgrounds. We don’t want anyone to ever forget about our Jack.”
The approximate cost for the playground was $200,000, with all funds raised by the JACK Foundation. Construction was led and completed by AJ Heiligman and a group of craftsmen. Jack’s brother and sister, Joey and Allie Heiligman, assisted.
“I’m proud to be part of a community that’s shown so much support for the Heiligman family and stepped up to help build these amazing playgrounds that pay homage to Jack’s memory,” Bello said. “Jack’s Place is an excellent example of the power this community has when we stand up for one another, support each other and when we all work together. This is a fantastic place for kids and families to come and play while they enjoy Webster Park, and I invite families to come and check it out.”