Although the ground already had been broken, and soon-to-be-laid pathways and pads were marked with stakes and orange paint, enthusiasm ran high as the ceremonial turning of dirt took place for Columbia County’s adaptive playground.
The playground, behind the Evans library, should be open within six weeks and will feature 10 stations designed for children with disabilities. The idea came from Columbia County Facility Maintenance Manager Tony Temples, whose granddaughter Nevaeh Temples has autism.
District 1 County Com-missioner Ron Thigpen said the playground, which will cost about $80,000, complements the two other playgrounds at the site and the Columbia County Amphitheater, and is part of the reason people are attracted to Columbia County.
“It really just fits,” he said, looking around the popular park. “And it’s a great use for SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) dollars. We are fortunate that in Columbia County we have the resources and opportunity to do something like this.”
While the adults considered the playground’s therapeutic potential, a small contingent of the facility’s primary patrons were excited by the prospect of a place built specifically for them.
His hand still on the shovel he shared with his mother at the groundbreaking, Justin Salter expressed his gratitude through the computer pad he keeps strapped to the arm of his wheelchair.
“Thank you,” he said,“for building a playground where my friends and I can hang out.”