'Inclusive playground' for children of all needs coming to Brentwood

Brentwood to build special playground for children of all abilities
Posted at 9:40 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 00:03:13-04

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s the setting for many of our childhood memories, but something as simple as climbing and sliding doesn't come easy for everyone.

“It’s a great playground but a lot of the things were really not accessible for her so she was playing by herself or she was playing on something that maybe other kids weren’t doing at the same time,” said Brentwood resident Cheri Work.

Work's daughter has special needs, which made it difficult for her to enjoy playgrounds like the one at Granny White Park as a child. That’s why she’s working with the city of Brentwood to replace its current playground with what’s called an “inclusive playground”.

“So that has ramps for wheelchair users, it has sensory-type pieces for those who have sensory issues, and it has a surface that allows easy access whether it’s a wheelchair, walkers, those kinds of things,” said city manager, Kirk Bednar.

Sarah Johnson with Brentwood’s Rotary Club is spearheading the fund-raising. “Children that have all different kinds of abilities need a place that they can be like every other kid and have those same experiences and feelings,” she said.

But the project won’t come cheap. It’s estimated to cost a million dollars for construction and to find the special equipment necessary to make the playground a reality.

“The more people we can have involved in spreading the message is the way that this happens sooner rather than later,” said Johnson.

Planning and designing is currently underway with help from the public’s input.

“With some early success of the fund-raising we’re prepared to hopefully start construction in fall of this year and in a perfect world have this playground open by late spring of next year,” said Bednar. So far, the Rotary Club has raised about $100,000.

Work said she's advocating for the playground so that other children like hers can enjoy being a kid, no matter their abilities. “Of all the things that can really bring kids together and really make kids just play together [it] would be a playground.”

If you'd like to donate to the construction of the playground, you can click here.