ST GEORGE, Utah – St. George is one step closer to breaking ground on the All Abilities Park, a specialized playground that will offer activities for children with special needs.
The city council approved a bid for phase one Thursday, an $800,000 project. The park will be located next to Tonaquint Park. The total cost will be an estimated $5 million. Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins said it may be a hefty price tag, but it’s worth it.
“Everyone who participates and plays in it, deserves to play in the best,” Perkins said. “The intent is not to create an amusement park, but to seriously consider the quality of it to the point where, when we put stuff in we want it to be the best we can afford.”
An animated flyover created by St. George City shows what they envision the park to be, a four-acre playground with structures, dinosaurs and a train. It’s an effort largely motivated by community input to provide a place where children with disabilities don’t feel excluded.
“This is kind of a fair play area where they can ask those questions and parents and the children will respond,” Michelle Graves said.
Michelle Graves’ daughter Amber has Down syndrome. While Michelle said they never felt limited in what Amber could do, she sees the park as a place of learning.
“That increases love and empathy and compassion and all those great aspects that we want citizens in St. George to have,” Graves said.
Phase one of the project is infrastructure, putting in roads and curbs to get ready for the actual structures. Perkins said that during the time of that construction, they’ll be doing design work and bidding out other portions.
The city is still $1 million short of what it needs, and fundraising efforts are underway to make up the difference. More information on the All Abilities Park can be found here.