Party at the park

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The KidsZone at Lake Meade Park is easily one of the most popular places in the city for young children and their parents and caregivers.

A quick visit to the park on any day the weather is clear, especially when there’s no school for whatever reason, confirms this. The park is filled with children playing on the expansive playground and many adults watching from nearby benches and picnic tables.

But the playground equipment hasn’t been completely accessible to children with disabilities up until now, and we’re glad that’s changing.

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An expansion to the park is almost complete. Crews are simply waiting for a few days of temperatures above 50 degrees to install rubber surfacing, and a shade structure also will be placed above the equipment.

The best part about this expansion is that it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It will have ramps wide enough for wheelchairs and has equipment designed for children with behavior or sensory issues.

For children who are used to frequenting KidsZone, it will be an extra space they can play. But for children with some types of disabilities, it will be the only space so far in Suffolk where they have been able to play.

That’s huge. It sends a positive message that Suffolk — even its playgrounds — is open to everyone, no matter what.

We’re pleased to see that Suffolk took on this project, and even better, they used grant money to help fund the project. The city put in $192,000, but it received an $80,000 grant from GameTime and is awaiting another $50,000 grant to put in swings and a spinning component that accommodate children with disabilities.

That’s definitely cause for celebration.