Cullman’s all-inclusive playground located inside Ingle Park is one step closer to opening, and should be ready for kids before the end of the spring.
Cullman Parks and Recreation has been preparing the park over the last few months, by grading and resurfacing the area and pouring new sidewalks, and the installation of the new equipment began Wednesday.
Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Anderson said the playground will provide a unique play area for children who may not be able to play in other parks.
“It’s an inclusive playground designed to meet the needs of kids of all abilities,” he said.
The park will have wheelchair accessibility, with features for children with special needs, and it will also include activities for all abilities, providing a place for all children to play together, Anderson said.
“We’re connecting kids of all abilities through play,” he said.
Some of the equipment will be lower than is typical to allow wheelchair access, and the playground will feature an artificial turf surface that will make it easier to roll a wheelchair, Anderson said.
Other special features include enclosed spaces that can provide support and stability so children can sit up on their own and sound and touch features that can be beneficial to kids with sensory issues, he said.
Once the equipment is installed, the turf will still need to be installed, along with the installation of shade structures and any electrical work that will need to be done, but the playground should be open in a couple months, Anderson said.
“We’re pushing for a complete opening by late May,” he said.
When the Field of Miracles opened in 2006 and provided a place for children of all abilities to play baseball and softball, the idea to provide a play area for those children began to grow.
“It really spread the idea that we wanted to do the same thing with a playground,” he said.
When the playground does open, it will be the only one of its kind in the immediate area, Anderson said.
He said nearly $200,000 has been raised in various fundraising efforts in the city over the last three years, and the support from Mayor Woody Jacobs, the Cullman City Council, the Cullman Street Department and the Parks and Recreation Board and Foundation have been instrumental in providing this for the city’s children.
“We are extremely grateful for the city’s support in this project,” he said.
Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 138.