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Mayor Williams unveils new all-inclusive playground

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Tom Jenkins | The Parthenon
Mayor Steve Williams unveiled a wheelchair-accessible swing Tuesday morning at the Harris Riverfront Park playground.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams unveiled a new Sway Fun wheelchair-accessible swing at the Harris Riverfront Park playground Tuesday morning.

The Park & Recreation Department received a call from a mother, Shanda Jenkins, who was wanting to start a GoFundMe.com account to raise money for a wheelchair-accessible swing. Jenkins’ son Brady, age 7, is confined to a wheelchair and has only been able to watch while other kids play.

“This way Brady can play with his siblings now, instead of sitting on the side and watching,” said Jenkins. “When I called I was just asking about a swing.”

Jenkins was unaware that the Executive Director of the Parks Department, Kevin Brady, had already begun planning an all-inclusive playground a year ago. Kevin Brady stated at the event that “almost 25% of all children in the Tri-State area between the ages of 5 and 21 have some type of disability.”

With the swing, the city of Huntington wanted to take a step closer towards equality and making sure children with disabilities are able to enjoy a playground just as much as any child. This is also a step closer for Mayor Williams and his efforts to earn the city of Huntington the “America’s Best Community” award.


Tom Jenkins can be contacted at [email protected]

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1 Comment

One Response to “Mayor Williams unveils new all-inclusive playground”

  1. Dr. Reeve Brenner on September 9th, 2016 8:25 pm

    Inclusive playgrounds 8/25/16
    Playgrounds, whether they are or are not inclusive, are invariably outgrown by typical as well as atypical youngsters including the disabled. Our organization, the National Association for Recreational Equality, (a group of retired clergy ),advocates for the post-playground physically and cognitively challenged, the autistic community and mobility impaired in the matter of facility shortages, particularly ballplaying sports facilities that are drop-in inclusive. By this we mean the sport offered is played without opponents and without teams because autistic participants and the mobility impaired are better served – after they have graduated from the playground – by independent or individual ballplaying sports rather than body contact and team sports.
    By alongside participation, without offense and defense, as in golf, bowling and Bankshot sports, full inclusion is achieved with universal design much as in the diversity provided by a swimming pool. It may be of value to check out nareletsplayfair.org or the National Association for Recreational Equality and bankshot.com to evaluate how the autistic spectrum members can have their drop-in recreational and sports facilities available for them and their families, at all times, not having to wait for a program next week. Besides, programs often segregate, segment and fail to socialize the very individuals we wish to mainstream into the general community.
    Many youngsters who are delighted with an inclusive playground but have now grown out of it will welcome a ball playing sports such as Bankshot and others that offer alongside companionable play enabling them to transition beyond the playground to the more aggressive ball playing sports communities (unfortunately, some would say) also provide. It’s good to have ballplaying sports that are companionable and not competitive. Self competition is every bit as important as rivalry competition. Ball playing sports receive the most attention, budgets and space but invariably once the inclusive playground is established communities often call it a day and believe that they have met the needs of the differently able when they have merely met the needs of the younger segment of special populations and their families. Think of the recreational needs of the eight to the 16-year-old cognitively or mobility impaired and look in at the National Association for Recreational Equality and the YouTube videos on the League for Autistic participants at Bankshot.com.

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