Bay County Approves Plans For New Handicap Playground - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Bay County Approves Plans For New Handicap Playground

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Play grounds are fun for kids of all ages, but unfortunately children with special needs can't always join in.

Bay County is creating a unique playground to make sure even children in wheelchairs get a chance to have a little fun.

Currently, Bay County owned playgrounds are all ADA compliant, but the county is taking that to the next level in Harder
s Park in hopes to provide a place where families with special needs can make memories.

"A playground built to ADA standards allows wheelchairs access to playgrounds but does not enable that person to actually participate our use the equipment," Jamie Jones, General Services Director.

The board of county commissioners approved the plans to create a playground that give even children with special needs the chance to swing.

s a facility that we presently dont have for our young people that are physically challenged, said Commissioner Guy Tunnell.

The blue print shows that the space have to at least two special needs swings, 3 wheelchairs swings, handicap accessible picnic tables, sandboxes and handicap parking near by.

"The staff has done some research and checked out other facilities around the country that are similar,
said Tunnell.

The park will be completed in-house by county staff and is expected to cost about $50,000. It is paid for by park impact fees.

"Basically when we have a developer that develops say a subdivision they have to pay impact fees for several areas, one in particular is recreational,
Tunnell Explains. Those monies have built up and we have that funding available, but its restricted only for new recreational facilities, which this certainly is.

This is only the beginning of an initiative to make sure all county parks and faculties are handicap friendly. County staff plans to take a look at other county-owned facilities and playgrounds to make sure they are handicap friendly as well.

Jamie Jones added eventually they would like to add handicap play equipment at other parks also.

The project was approved to be a part of the 2014-15 budget, Commissioner Tunnell expects that the project will get started by the end of the year.