BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — An inclusive playground for kids of all abilities officially opened in Bentonville on Saturday.
Citizen’s Park Playground at 1101 SW Citizens Circle, is specifically designed to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
The grand opening was a big celebration including live music from Trout Fishing in America, a fun run, and guest speakers.
The $450,000 project was made possible by taxpayers, Visit Bentonville, Bentonville Lions Club, and the Walton Family Foundation.
David Wright, Bentonville Parks and Recreation Director, says he’s proud of the impact the playground has the ability to have.
“There’s no steps in the playground whatsoever, everything is a ramp. That’s designed for kids in a wheelchair,” Wright said. “In my 25 year career in public parks, I’ve been telling people I think I’m more proud of this project than anything I’ve done.”
Bryan Tucker visited the playground with his 10-year-old son, Brody.
“He’s been looking forward to coming out here for awhile,” he said. “It’s definitely neat.”
On the playground, there’s various sensory items to grab kids attention.
“Kids with autism, those sensory things mean a lot to them,” Wright said. “Parents asked us to do double slides or wide slides that even two people can go down. You see a lot of that where two folks can go down at the same time, meet at the bottom — that way a child isn’t sitting there waiting on them.”
Every piece of the playground was intentionally designed so kids with special needs can have the same opportunity to use all the equipment.
The are several chairs in the middle of the playground.
“It’s a chill out chair. Maybe an autistic child who maybe just has a little too much going on at one time can sit down and relax,” Wright said.
In addition, there are two ziplines. One is for able-bodied kids, and the other has a brace.
Wright adds, “all kids, regardless of physical ability, can play together.”
The 35-acre park features:
- Citizens Park Tennis Complex featuring 8 tennis courts and 8 pickleball courts
- Multipurpose fields
- 1 mile looped trail
- Citizens Park is also the home of the Bentonville Community Center