'It’s about building connections': ADA-compliant playground opens in Winchester

Posted at 2:20 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 17:20:21-04

WINCHESTER, Ky. (LEX 18) — After seven years of planning, designing and building, the playground at Legacy Grove Park in Winchester opened on Monday morning.

“It took a while, but it was worth it,” said Kendra Pace, who spoke while watching her kids play in the water creek play structure.

This isn’t your typical playground, however, as it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We wanted it to be where a wheelchair, or any mobility device, can move around the entire space and they can play with their friends,” said Beth Jones, who led this project as part of her role with the Greater Clark Foundation.

Everything here from the turf slide to the aforementioned creek were ideas almost exclusively hatched by kids. Most of the 25 young people who were involved in the design are now too old to play here, but when their expertise was tapped, they were experts in the field of playground apparatus.

“As you look around the play area out here every kid who was part of the youth design team can see their specific idea implemented,” said Jen Algire, president and CEO of the Greater Clark Foundation.

“Inclusivity was the goal from day one. We want kids – whether they have autism or a hearing impairment, or they use wheels – we want them to be able to play right alongside their typically abled peers,” Algire added.

The kids were so smart about the design and amenities that went into this place, they even figured out a way to possibly extend their visits to the park.

“Build something really comfortable where our parents can just sit for a long time,” Jones said of the giant canopy strategically located with a view of every corner of the playground.

“Because the kids knew that when adults get uncomfortable, they have to leave,” she added.

Other than the ominous clouds moving in overhead that may have had other plans, there wasn’t really anyone looking to leave here in a hurry on this day.

“A lot of great physical activity and a great way to wear them out,” Pace joked.

The adults let the kids design this thing in a way that would make it easier to play with all of their friends. Now they can steer clear as the kids enjoy this place now that it’s been completed.

“If the adults get out of the way, the kids can really make fun play happen under any circumstances,” Algire said.