Community members gathered Friday morning to celebrate a large, unique children’s project. A ribbon was cut in celebration of the official opening of America’s largest fully accessible playground at Coronado Elementary School.
Over 500 volunteers converged on the school on a Saturday morning back in July to do their part in helping build the one-of-a-kind playground.
The 10,800 square foot playground is totally handicapped accessible, and is the only one between Mexico and Canada that features a ramp system to allow children with all abilities to access 5 slide locations and multiple sensory stations for creative play from zero to 10 feet in the air. Their peers and caregivers will have opportunities for safe interactive play. The entire system is installed on a turf material that is conducive to wheelchairs, walkers and kids running. 600 children can utilize the playground all at the same time.
The playground is a project of the Salina AMBUC’s organization. Members Cee Heller and Lori Blake have been the driving force behind it. They first got the idea back in June of last year. In November they became serious and started fund raising.
Blake says that the project would not have been possible without the outpouring of volunteers and financial support from the community.
Smiles, and a few tears, were abundant Friday morning as they watched children play on the equipment. One handicapped little girl touched several hearts as she laughed, and squealed with joy, while being pushed in a swing.
In addition to the playground, the project has been approved for a grant from the Sunflower Health Foundation to resurface a ¼ mile walking trail, with activity stations. USD 305 has committed to additional upgrades to the current facility including relocating the ball field, doubling the parking lot, new benches and fencing for the facility after project has been completed.
Funding for the playground is still about $16,000 short. To leave a legacy for all children in Salina, checks can be written and mailed to 1648 S. Ohio, PMB 192, Salina KS 67401. AMBUCS is a 501(c) 3, so all gifts are tax deductible.
The playground is a gift to the community, and during hours when school is not in session, is open to everyone.