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County likely to approve playground for disabled children

Posted: June 2, 2012 - 11:05pm  |  Updated: June 4, 2012 - 9:34am
County officials will consider allocating $40,000 for a playground for disabled children near the popular splash pad by the amphitheater and Memorial Park.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
County officials will consider allocating $40,000 for a playground for disabled children near the popular splash pad by the amphitheater and Memorial Park.

Twitter @ValerieRowell

Columbia County doesn’t have any playground facilities fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If county commissioners approve a request for additional funding at Tuesday’s meeting, there will soon be a playground for children with disabilities, said county Construction and Maintenance Division Director Matt Schlachter.

Site clearing for the playground has started in a wooded area near two existing playgrounds behind the Columbia County Library in Evans.

The idea came up late last year from a county employee with a special-needs daughter. At that time, Schlachter said his division had $40,000 left over from funds designated for facility upgrades.

At a May 22 Public Works Committee meeting, Schlachter asked county leaders for an additional $40,000 from the 2006-10 sales tax. The money, he said, would come from funds for projects that came in under bid.

The initial money would buy the playground equipment, but Schlachter said he wants to add rubber mulch padding and other upgrades.

“We can buy the equipment for $40,000,” Schlachter said. “But we want to make sure we did it right.”

While some of the county playgrounds have ADA-compliant equipment, such as interactive stations and musical equipment, the plan for the new playground would make it accessible to children in wheelchairs and include a roller slide and a full-harness swing.

“We want to make it jam-up,” Schlachter said. “We want it to be safe, fun and enjoyable.”

The playground will be located in a wooded area off the rear path near the pond, Schlachter said, because some children might have sunlight allergies or sensitivities.

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