Genesee County gets its first barrier-free playground

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FLINT (WJRT) - (05/25/17) - Jackie Mason and her sons were part of a ribbon pull unveiling Genesee County's first ever barrier-free, fully accessible playground.

"Whether it's cognitive, physical, sensory, deaf, blind, it doesn't matter what their ability is. Children, adults young and old get to come and get to play," Mason said.

The new play structure at Blue Bell Beach was funded by grants and money from the parks budget. It includes more than two dozen different play areas for children to experience.

"There is a sensory code and we have panels for deaf and the blind, like braille, so kids are going over and putting their fingers over it," Mason said. "It's a great way to bring multiple people from different places in the community together."

What makes this playscape so unique is that children of all abilities can safely play together on the same structure. It was also designed to meet the needs of those children who may not be ready for a full social experience on the playground.

Matt Campanella was involved in the design of the new play area.

"We have a little cozy area for those children who might not be ready to engage in the playground environment. That gives them and opportunity to try to retreat and play among themselves, and play with some other friend until they feel comfortable to be able to actually get on the playground with the rest of the children," he said.

Park officials hope to bring more inclusive playgrounds to other county parks.

"This is just another piece of the puzzle. We are looking to make all of our county parks available to everybody in the county," said Joe Krapo, president of the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission.

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