Dream into Action

Once Upon a Time, a Mom took her daughter to a playground.  It did not end well. While the child did okay, the Mom saw her struggle to navigate the play structure area.  The ground covering was made of shredded tires. The daughter, who was still learning the fine art of balance, never made it to the playground structure on her own.  She fell repeatedly and ended up just playing with the pieces of shredded tires.  Mom thought. “There has to be a better way”

True Story:  That was me 5 years ago.  I started talking with OT’s and PT’s, Specialists in Child Development and Special Needs and I came up with this whole HUGE project.  Meetings were held. plans were made, and as it sometimes happens, things fell apart.  But the Dream is still there.

So, Baby Steps, Education, Opportunity.

I am so pleased and proud to be able to announce to our families in Southern West Virginia that there is now a Park in Beckley that offers a FULL ADA Compliant Playground! The Key to this amazing playground is the ground covering.  It is Water Repellent. Heat Resistant, and will not hurt as much when falls happen.  It LITERALLY Levels the Playing Field allowing for children of ALL abilities to play TOGETHER!  And that is ultimately what we want right? For all our kids to be able to play together! 

Anyone who knows me knows that I can talk about the Playground project all day long.  And no, it is not Cheap!
But Leslie Bakker – Head of the Department of Parks and Recreation for the City of Beckley has been a big supporter of my Dream Project from the very beginning.  THANK YOU, LESLIE!  YOU MADE IT HAPPEN!

Now I pass the ball to you- Our friends and supporters who tell me that these are the types of things that we need.
Let’s use them!  Get Your Directions Here

Updates to New River Park in Beckley levels the playing field for children

Posted: May 31, 2017 10:49 PM EDT

BECKLEY, WV (WVVA) –A popular public park in Beckley has gotten a bit of a makeover, thanks to the passion of a Raleigh County mother of a special needs child who wanted to see a playground that met the needs of all children.

After nearly three years of planning and a HUD block grant, children like seven-year-old Belle now have a safer place to play.

“This now is an inclusive playground and I’m so very happy that it has finally come to be,” Belle’s mother Lola Rizer said.

New River Park now has two new playground installations, both included with a new rubber-like play surface.

“It doesn’t retain water, it doesn’t retain heat, and it certainly has a springiness and a cushion to it, that when children fall they won’t nearly be as apt to hurt themselves,” Leslie Baker, director of parks and recreation said.

According to Baker, the new surface sets New River Park apart from the rest.

“We didn’t have any playground equipment that was 100 percent ADA compliant,” Baker said. “So that any child regardless of their disability could just come right in and play and feel comfortable.”

Feeling comfortable is something that parents of children with special needs might understand better than anyone.

“That’s the one thing that children who have challenges want more than anything is just to feel normal and sometimes getting to the playground, a small thing like that that most people don’t think of is a huge step,” Rizer said.

And that’s why Rizer approached Baker with the idea of creating a playground with the needs of all children in mind.

“They’re going to be able to navigate just about every single corner of the structure which is the goal,” Rizer said. “It’s so important that we get the word out and say, ‘Moms and dads bring your kids to this play structure and to the swings and let everybody play together.'”

Baker says New River Park is now one of just a handful of parks across the state that meet the ADA guidelines and the rubber play-surface is guaranteed for at least ten years.

She says now that this project is finished, attention will be focused on making major improvements to East Park and Temple Street Park.

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