BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — After about three years of planning and fundraising, an inclusive playground at Maryville’s John Sevier Park is set to open next month.
Kathy McGee is a parent of an adult child with a disability ad says she wished she had a playground like this when her son was little.
“My adult child is 32 almost 33 but when he was little like two years old we would go to a Maryville Park,” she said.
McGee explained how going to the park was less fun and more like a chore for her family since it wasn’t easily accessible for her son.
This is a story Baylee Leko knows all too well.
“With my son, he’s going to be five in June,” Leko explained. “His name is William and with the fatal muscle-wasting disease he is still able to move around on the playground right now but as his disease progresses it will slow his muscles down.”
That’s why these two moms are working to create an all-inclusive playground in Blount County.
“When we did start going to the playground and then we were diagnose everything was so stressful and having special needs child it’s stressful as it is,” said Leko. “You worry constantly. So knowing we’re going to have this available for use in our community is going to be such a relief.”
The new playground will have wheelchair accessibility, rubberized flooring, and a fence to give parents peace of mind while their children play.
“This playground ultimately is going to allow us the opportunity to engage with other parents and not be so worried about our child on the playground equipment,” said Leko.
Not only will the playground serve families and children with disabilities, but organizers say it will be the largest playground in Blount County for all families to enjoy.
“We hope to see this project through and keep it growing as much as our community continues to grow,” Leko said.
The first phase of the project should be completed by the end of June.
For more information or to give monetary donations you can visit their website here.