Maria Mellman, a spokeswoman for Hope Rolls of Dickinson County, said they plan to install a smooth, non-slip surface on the playground so it’ll be accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.
“The main equipment will have ramps to go up, so you can push a wheelchair up if you need to. We’re getting a We-Go-Swing, which you wheel the wheelchair right up into it and you can swing with a guardian or a friend; a wheelchair merry-go-round,” she said. “We’re also including an obstacle course, kind of like a Ninja Warrior course, for able-bodied kids 13 and older.”
They’re also planning to install balance and motion equipment that’s popular with senior living facilities. Mellman said the playground is planned on land owned by Spirit Lake schools that is directly east of the football stadium.
“It’ll actually benefit the special needs of Spirit Lake Commuity School District as well,” Mellman said, “but it will be a community park open to anyone i the area that lives here or any tourists that come to visit.”
While the park is being designed for people of all ages, Mellman said it would fill a void in northwest Iowa as there are few inclusive playgrounds for children with disabilities.
“The closest one is in Sioux City, so 111 miles away,” Wellman said. “We figured if we did a 45-mile radius, there’s not a fully inclusive park in that 45-mile radius, and it’ll benefit about 53 towns.”
Mellman said an inclusive playground ensures kids of different abilities can use and play on the same equipment at the same time.
(By Corey Harguth, KICD, Spencer)