MASON — Plans for a playground upgrade hit a snag in the Town of Mason recently after several necessary projects were forced to the forefront, but now the public is invited to help see the park project come to fruition.
Mayor Donna Dennis had previously asked council members to complete a budget revision to place anticipated surplus funds into the recreation department. It was her hope to spend approximately $20,000 to purchase three pieces of playground equipment for the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W./Lottie Jenks Memorial Park, that will accommodate all children regardless of age or need.
After some necessities were forced to become priority, however, Dennis said the town now only has half of the funds for the project. Donations are being accepted to make up the remaining $10,000.
Although grant funds are going to be sought, the mayor and Darlene Roach, who is helping with the project, said they are afraid money will not come through from the applications in time to complete the project this summer.
The park presently holds swing sets, a playhouse with slides, a spinner, and other equipment. There are no items to accommodate a child with special needs. Three items are wanted that will make the playground more friendly for older children, along with those with mobility and other issues.
The first is a large child adaptive swing. It will be added to the existing swing set, and has a harness design that is accessible to every child, even those with physical limitations. It has a 5-point harness, as well as full body support to keep the child upright.
The second is an expression swing. This swing allows a child and adult to swing together in a face-to-face position. The one-piece design features a bucket seat for the child, and a seat for an adult that allows the two to interact with each other, seeing facial expressions while playing.
The final equipment piece is a rail-rider, similar to a miniature zipline. The rail-rider actually has two rails, one with a round seat, and a second harnessed seat, once again allowing for children with limited physical ability.
Dennis said there are a number of children in the Bend Area who could take advantage of the new playground items, and she would love to make the park as inclusive as possible. The mayor said many children’s birthday parties, family reunions, church picnics and other gatherings take place in the park during fair weather, and the equipment would allow everyone to take part in the fun.
Those wishing to donate to the project can call the town hall at 304-773-5200, or mail a check to the Town of Mason, P.O. Box 438, Mason, WV 25260. Those mailing checks should write “for playground equipment” in the memo line.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.