Saginaw Splash Park receives water-friendly wheelchair - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Saginaw Splash Park receives water-friendly wheelchair

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SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) - (06/13/14) - With a warm weekend expected, splash and spray parks across Mid-Michigan are sure to be busy.

In Saginaw, the Splash Park received a new piece of equipment that will allow children who face physical challenges to enjoy the water as well.

"Funds are short everywhere," said Karen Wahls, foundation member.

Because of that, a water-friendly wheelchair would normally be out of the question for the city of Saginaw to purchase on its own.

"No mobility equipment is cheap. A PVC wheelchair that can be used in this situation is about $1,000," Wahls said.

Thanks to a Saginaw foundation that funds projects to help challenged children, the Saginaw Splash Park now has this wheelchair, made mainly of PVC, that will allow children who need wheelchairs to get under the water and enjoy the park with everyone else.

"You can't do that with your regular wheelchairs, they are too expensive, they are not made for water," Wahls said.

MaryAnn Garret works for the city of Saginaw parks and maintenance departments and she says she has noticed that not everyone who visited Celebration Park was using the splash area.

"I notice some of the children with disabilities go over to the playscape, they can't go into the water, and that was a disadvantage for them also, because they are playing, and they see the water, they see the kids running around, they want to get into the water," she said. "All the children should be able to enjoy the park."

Wahls believes the pool chair will bring more families out to the park, families that may have felt uncomfortable about visiting the water area.

"Quite often the whole, family because as a parent, you are not going to bring your family to a place like this, and only let some of your children, and what do you, do you put the child in the wheelchair off to watch, or do you leave the child at home? Parents don't do that," she said.

If the chair gets used a lot, the foundation will attempt to purchase more.
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