‘A health element’: Conway unveils plans for new inclusive playground designed for all

The City of Conway introduces inclusive playground plan

Conway's first inclusive playground was introduced at the Conway Recreation Center today.
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Conway's first inclusive playground was introduced at the Conway Recreation Center today.

The City of Conway is about to become a little more inclusive thanks to a new playground coming this year.

On Monday, Conway Council members gathered to unveil design plans for an inclusive playground behind the Conway Recreation Center. Similar to Savannah’s Playground in the Market Common, this facility will be built for any kid to enjoy, regardless of abilities, age or background.

Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy said parks and recreation is an important service the government provides to improve the health of residents and this new park will help achieve that mission.

“It’s a health element. We’ve recognized as a group that what we have in place now does not suit everyone well,” Blain-Bellamy said. “We’re delighted to announce the begins of this inclusive playground.”

According to a mock-up of the playground, it will be a safe space for all kids to enjoy, but it will not sacrifice the traditional fun that can be had on a playground. It’ll have slides, are to run around and a bridge for kids to cross.

The playground was an initiative of City Council and was developed alongside a committee. The hope is to make the park a “destination” for local kids and parents looking for a great, safe playground.

“We had a committee that came and gave us a lot of direction for what community members desired,” said June Wood with the Conway parks department.

Lisa Brown, a committee member and mother to a son with intellectual disabilities, said she was grateful for Conway building this playground for all kids. Her son, Joshua Brown, is excited for the park.

“I think it sounds pretty useful,” Joshua Brown said. “I think this playground for so many different people and personalities sounds like a great idea.”

Similar parks are being built across the country, including the one already in Myrtle Beach. The hope is to begin construction on the park July 1, Wood said. For folks looking to support this project, Conway Cares has set up a donation page on Facebook to help buy more equipment for the park.

Council member Ashley Smith said the playground will serve people across Horry County, making it a locals’ destination for kids and parents. For him, it was about time Conway built something like this for its residents.

“It’s time to put kids with different abilities in the limelight,” Smith said. “It was almost embarrassing Conway didn’t have anything because we’re supposed to be the trendsetter in Horry County.”