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'Inclusive playground' opened in Richmond so all kids can play together

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Posted at 2:42 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 18:23:38-04

RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — More than a year and about $300,000 later, the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department, joined by other community leaders, officially opened Lake Reba Inclusive Playground Tuesday morning in Richmond.

Richmond Parks and Recreation Department Director of Recreation Administration Erin Moore explained the goal for the project was for all kids to play and learn together.

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"Most people think that this inclusive playground was specifically designed for those who utilize wheelchairs,” Moore said. “We also looked at enhancing the play equipment to help children of all abilities."

She said they started with the basics.

"We poured new sidewalks around the entire facility, so that people could access all three playgrounds," Moore said.

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The playground now includes a wheelchair swing, sensory slides, a ramped play structure, a raft swing, a wheelchair-friendly merry-go-round, interactive musical instruments and a unity dome.

Moore explained, "This park features sensory and physical elements of play that are easy for beginners or challenging for those looking to develop their skills."

Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe was giddy during Tuesday's ribbon-cutting.

"This is truly, and I use the word not loosely, this is truly a blessing for children and families,” he said. “And therefore, we pray will enhance life, family life, in our community. And what a time when there are concerns throughout our society, about children being able to go to school."

One Parks and Recreation board member said the playground was all about "letting kids be kids without barriers." He also read a quote from Educational Psychologist Patricia Ramsey, "'Play is a vehicle for children to explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and to create even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.'"

He said that is what the board aimed to do and think they have achieved with this inclusive project.