Monday, October 24, 2011

The Park is Open!

New park built for kids with special needs
Story by: Jordyn Taylor (click the link above to see video)

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Nine-year-old Hannah Netherland said there's a girl in her school that can't play on the school playground because she's in a wheelchair. Netherland welcomes a park project in Ruston designed especially for children with special needs.

"It kind of makes me mad because she can't come play with me," said Netherland. "And she's one of my really good friends."

Park board member Jacob Woods hopes this playground will change that.

"I think Legacy Park does offer a situation where special needs kids can do the things that other kids do on the other playground equipment," said Woods.

It takes in twenty five thousand feet of land inside Lincoln Parish park just off Highway 33. The playground is also a bridge between people with disabilities, and those without.

"For kids who don't have special needs to realize that the kids who do, are just kids," said Woods. "And they may need some equipment and things adapted to let them do those things but that otherwise they're just kids."

When you first arrive at the park, the playground looks like any other playground, but once you go inside, you'll notice a few differences. One difference is that the ramps are wider making it will chair accessible for children.

"You won't find steps and those kinds of things because it's all actually wheel chair accessible," said Woods. "Obviously on the bottom but also on the upper areas, kids in wheel chairs will be able to access all of it. "

Legacy Park was built in honor of three-year-old Bailey Jack Beck - who has down syndrome. It was a dream for Beck's mom - that's now a reality.