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Sweden playground offers inclusivity for Brockport

by Bridgette Babb - Copy Editor
Tue, Oct 30th 2018 10:00 pm

On Friday, Sept. 26, Sweden town officials gathered to dedicate a new disability friendly park for kids of all ages to enjoy.

Sweden park, located just off Redman Rd., offered a standard play area with things such as money bars and a baseball field, but there was never anything prior that catered to those with disabilities. Now with the work of Senator Rob Ortt and Sweden’s board of trustees, all children with disabilities can have fun and feel included.

At 11 a.m. on the windy Friday morning, a ceremony was held with a group of Sweden’s town counsel, along with Senator Ortt.

“These are your tax dollars, our tax dollars,” Ortt said. “We were able to bring it back and use it in a way that the people of Sweden could enjoy it.”

The speech was immediately followed by multiple board members cutting the ribbon alongside the senator. Sweden town supervisor Kevin Johnson then stood with Senator Ortt holding a document that signified the new and improved sweden town park playground.

Johnson said that the birth of the playground and getting the grant to build it started with the town board sitting down with the sweden community foundation. 

“They wanted an inclusive playground in the town,” Johnson said “They were the ones to approach the senator’s office in the hopes that there would be some money available.”

Johnson said that as soon as there was some money to be had, the senator made sure they got what was needed to start development.

“The senator saw to it that we were awarded the $250,000 grant to install the playground,” Johnson said.

He emphasized that the playground was indeed inclusive, meant for children of every ability. It is ground level and once the rubber pavement is installed, it will be fully accessible.

Sweden counsel woman, Patricia Hayles, credited the park to all the different departments combined.

“The developer, Brian Ingraham, along with the senator and the highway department really worked well together to get this project on it’s feet,” Hayles said. “The ending outcome is even better than we expected.

Johnson encouraged people not to see this as a park for Sweden, but rather as a “center of recreational play for people of all ages and all abilities.” He eluded that citizens and visitors alike will enjoy the park for many years to come. 

This recent addition has many different attributes that make it dynamic. From the seesaw built in a square shape allowing wheelchair accessability, to the monkey bars and the slide, the park brought about warm child like bliss. Things like these can make even the oldest person feel young again. 

Unique features, like the alphabet in sign language draws more attention than one may expect and can help young children communicate with their hearing impaired counterparts. The ramp built on one side leading to the slide helps those who can’t walk feel on top of the world. Round circles that make a pleasant sound, a colorful xylophone to help with expression and the large chime with matching sticks were all created to cater to children with autism in particular. These three features in particular were important additions because developers felt the sounds of the xylophone especially would be soothing to an autistic child, helping them with self expression.

This park’s presence in the community will not only give everyone a chance to feel included, but can initiate the will to be conscious of people who are not the same. In the end, all any human being wants is to be loved, respected and understood.