Northeast Tarrant

Two North Texas cities are building accessible playgrounds for kids with disabilities

Children who use wheelchairs or who have other disabilities will soon have specially-designed playgrounds where they can have fun with their friends and families.

Work is starting soon in Haltom City and Saginaw to build the all-access playgrounds in existing parks. The playgrounds should be open late this fall.

Christi Pruitt, parks and recreation director in Haltom City, said providing accessible play areas is a growing trend in North Texas and throughout the country.

“We should not be leaving anyone out when it comes to playing outside,” Pruitt said.

The play area will be located in Haltom Road Park, near the Veterans Memorial.

Pruitt said city officials met with teachers and parents and learned there is a “definite need” for an accessible playground in Haltom City.

The city received a $56,605 grant from PlayCore for the project, and the city is providing the matching funds.

Some of the fun features include musical chimes which are helpful to children who are autistic and to senior citizens, she said. There are plenty of trees for shade, and the city is also building a parking lot so that people in wheelchairs have better access to the playground.

Other cities, including Burleson and Richland Hills, also received PlayCore grants. Each of the sites will be a national demonstration area for accessible play, she said.

In Saginaw the nonprofit organization, Project Dream Play and the city combined efforts to build an accessible playground.

City manager Gabe Reaume said the nonprofit, which was formed several years ago, raised money to build the special needs playground, and the city council wanted to see it move forward, he said.

The location is Willow Creek Park, and the playground should be ready by late fall or early winter.

“We think about kids being the primary beneficiaries, but there are a lot of friends and adults who have mobility challenges. They can participate in play and be involved with their kids”, Reaume said.

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With my guide dog Barbara, I keep tabs on growth, economic development and other issues in Northeast Tarrant cities and other communities near Fort Worth. I’ve been a reporter at the Star-Telegram for 34 years.