Inclusive playground opens in Branson to welcome all children - FOX 5 KRBK is Springfield MO source for News and Weather

Inclusive playground opens in Branson to welcome all children

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(Branson, Mo.--04/06/18) The opening of a new playground in the city of Branson is cause for celebration because the equipment now makes it possible for every child in town to join in on the fun.

After months of construction, the inclusive play space was stampeded by people of all ages and abilities with an assortment of engaging equipment.

"We’re getting a chance to serve an under served population and so I can’t tell you how rewarding that is for our City of Branson," explains Director of Parks and Recreation, Cindy Shook. 

Shook says the playground is an inclusive playground meant to bring together people of all different abilities.

"I think it’s really important for the emotional and physical well being of all kids to have access to playgrounds."

Residents like Cristal Hedrick sayS the new park makes it easier and more inviting for her goddaughter who has autism to enjoy with all children.

"Our special needs kiddos are able to play with their peers, they’re able to interact with their peers, and then their peers are able to have a good time with them," explains Hedrick. 

Together the community has achieved a goal for children of all abilities to play together side by side.

Erica Marshall tells FOX5,"kids no matter what developmental challenges or disabilities or whatever they may have going on they are still kids, they love being out and being a part of what’s going on."

For parents like Marshall, whose children do not have special needs, the playground is an opportunity for more play dates.

"We have a friend with a little girl, my son’s age, whose in a wheelchair and for her to be able to come out here with her siblings and her parents and be able to be a part of the action.

Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation, Jason Reinsch looks at this new area as an oasis for children to interact with diverse crowds. "I don’t want a playground that has four different separate areas. I want a playground that everybody gets in together we have meaningful play together and they have a chance to interact."

The city received a $70,000 grant for the playground along with donations to help offset the cost of the total project. 

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