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New inclusive playground under construction

This spring, children in Suffolk of all abilities will have a new opportunity to get active.

A new inclusive playground is under construction at Bennett’s Creek Park, 3000 Bennett’s Creek Park Road. The construction started on Jan. 14, and a swing set is already installed.

This playground’s layout will be similar to the inclusive playground at Lake Meade Park at 201 Holly Lawn Parkway.

“We are very excited,” said Terry Baronner, the park manager at Suffolk Parks and Recreation. “To have more inclusive amenities like this is what we strive for as a department and a city as a whole. We are very happy to have it.”

According to Baronner, the new equipment is not just to accommodate for physical handicaps, but also for cognitive ones as well to accommodate any limitation. Sparks@Play, the Virginia representative for Landscape Structures Incorporated, will complete the playground’s design and build.

After the positive feedback from the one at Lake Meade Park, former Suffolk City Manager Patrick Roberts and other city administration approved a $300,000 budget for a second inclusive playground. Bennett Creek was chosen to give North Suffolk an inclusive park.

“They decided on Bennett’s Creek, because it’s a very popular park,” said Baronner. “It’s a large and walkable park.”

The construction of the equipment is projected to take only 14 to 21 days. However, the park will not be ready until around mid-March due to the particular surfacing. The Poured-in-Place is a unique rubber foundation that will go over the base of the playground and takes up around 30% of the overall budget. It must be poured when the temperature is consistently over 45 degrees in order to set correctly.

Suffolk Parks & Recreation is also in the process of replacing three additional playgrounds that have come to the end of their lifecycle — Lake Kennedy Park, Mary Estes Park and Sleepy Hole Park.