Plans unveiled for Donnie Williams Inclusive Playground
SALISBURY, Md. – In the coming months, construction will begin on a brand new playground that will have features for kids of all abilities. Families say that this playground will make a world of difference for their kids. “Not all of our friends can go with us to other playgrounds and play. So this gives us an opportunity to have all of us together and play, and have picnics and play baseball and just have a good time and do it safely,” said parent Heather Shrieves.
The Donnie Williams Inclusive Playground will feature equipment that is accessible for kids living with disabilities. Director of Wicomico County Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Steve Miller says they worked with local advocates and families of children with disabilities to make sure the playground was fun, accessible, and most importantly, safe. “We really relied on them as we went through the process to design the playground because we wanted something that would be functional, something they could use and enjoy and that would stand the test of time,” said Miller.
Parents say that input was crucial in making sure this playground could be an asset for their children and the community as a whole. “Unless you have a child with a disability or family members with a disability, you don’t really know what their needs could be. When it came to picking out the field, we need something that gate trainers can go on, and wheelchairs can go on,” said parent Charissa Thomas.
Families tell 47ABC that sometimes they had to travel across state lines just to get access to a playground that was safe and accessible for their kids. So having a place to play in their own community opens up a world of possibilities for fun and growth. “Now that she’ll be able to go up the slide and go down herself just like her sister, that means more to me than anything,” said Thomas.
Miller says the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Department has all the money they need in place. But they’re going to continue collecting funds so that they can keep adding to the park. For example, Miller says they’re also planning to add a trail that will have stations with sensory equipment. He adds they’ll keep adding to it as time goes on. Miller says construction should be complete sometime in April of 2021.