St. George City officials seek input for all-abilities park

Posted at 9:57 PM, Dec 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-03 23:57:47-05

ST. GEORGE -- The city of St. George already has about a dozen playgrounds in their parks for kids to enjoy. But they’re planning one more -- one to accommodate all the city’s children.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins said children with disabilities are often excluded from existing playgrounds because of limitations. That’s why they’re planning what they’re calling an “all-abilities” playground on four acres at the existing Tonaquint Park.

“They’re a valuable part of our community, those residents who have those disabilities,” Perkins said. “And we don’t want them sitting on the sidelines wishing that they could have an experience.”

It’s still early in the design process. The city is teaming up with California based Shane’s Inspiration, a nonprofit organization that has helped cities across the country develop all ability parks. The parks feature equipment that is compatible with assistive devices.

“A whole variety of different types of things,” Perkins said. “A wheelchair could move into a swing or another apparatus so that they can recreate alongside their able-bodied friends.”

The city is also looking for input from the community, specifically those who would use the park. They want it to be a place designed by kids, for kids.

“What would be unique for our community in terms of a theme, but then how would you use the facility,” Perkins said. “And what are the barriers that keep you from using facilities.”

Local moms applaud the effort, saying during those formative years, all kids deserve a place where they can have fun and feel safe.

“Especially for children that have mobility problems,” said St. George mom Sarah Leona. “They kind of get knocked over or hurt because there’s not easy access for them.”

A public meeting will take place Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Dixie Center. Perkins said they’re planning on a facility costing around $1 million.

It should be ready to use by summer 2014.