New ADA playground at Spring Park allows all children to have fun

By Bruce Hope
Posted 4/14/21

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The City of Green Cove Springs has made a significant addition to Spring Park with a new playground area specially designed for disabled children.

“I’ve been …

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New ADA playground at Spring Park allows all children to have fun

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The City of Green Cove Springs has made a significant addition to Spring Park with a new playground area specially designed for disabled children.

“I’ve been working on the playground for the last six months,” said Steve Thomas, Assistant Director of Public Works for the city. “We’re going to try to finish up the grant here this month.” The grant from the Florida Land and Water Conservation Fund Program gave the city $200,000, which it added to the same amount from its budget to do different projects.  Out of that amount, the new playground, which originally was approved in 2018, cost $892.99.

The new play area has an in-ground merry-go-round that allows children in wheelchairs to get onto it and enjoy the rotation. It also has a ramp and platforms for wheelchair access. The play area also has standard amenities so children who aren’t handicapped can play freely with those who are, encouraging inclusion.

According to Thomas, people have been asking him about this sort of play area for a while.

“To be honest, I have talked to several people that asked me if we [the city] or if we were looking to put in an ADA [American Disability Act] compliant playground,” said Thomas. “I also have a couple of employees that have handicapped kids, so that kind of pushed us that way as well. They all kind of asked me several times, ‘are we ever going to put an ADA playground in?’”

That time has arrived. When the city received the grant, it decided to pursue the idea.

Now the play area is nearly completed.

Nathan Nettles, an employee with the public works department, has a child who will be able to take advantage of the new play area.

“I think it’s [the new playground area] is great,” he said. “Nice little park. It’s got the activities some kids can actually do. If your kid’s in a wheelchair, you can actually roll them up the ramp to do a couple of the things. And the merry-go-round’s actually kind of neat. They’re not quite done with it, but the way it looks, you can get the wheelchair up on it and be able to spin your kid around safely.”

Nettles isn’t the only parent who’s excited about the new playground.

“One of the guys I work with, his daughter’s got some disabilities and he seemed kind of excited about it, too,” he said.

Thomas also hears positive comments.

“Just about every time I’m in the park or checking on it seeing how progress is going, somebody mentions they’re glad we are doing it,” he said. “Matter of fact, Food Truck Friday I was in attendance and one of the wives of my employees came up to me and said she appreciates it very much and their son will enjoy it. We’ve had quite a bit of feedback and it’s been great.

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