After more than a year of planning and fundraising, Saluda Shoals Park broke ground on the inclusive playground Thursday, Nov. 29.
Projected for completion in spring 2019, the playground will provide an interactive and accessible space for children and families of all kinds to play together, in part thanks to Colonial Life’s donation.
The idea of the universally inclusive playground was inspired by a Chapin family, the Bugenske’s, whose child loves going to the Saluda Shoals Park. Leo, 4, has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, but that doesn’t stop Leo’s passion for the playground. Leo and his family brought attention to the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission that the park had a need for equipment for people of all physical abilities.
“This project affords us the opportunity to support inclusion and diversity efforts within the community,” said Marie McGehee, Colonial Life’s director of corporate social responsibility. “It ties perfectly into Colonial Life’s health and wellness pillar while also enriching experiences for people of all ages and all abilities.”
Once the playground is open, ICRC staff will run programming created by Shane’s Inspiration aimed at promoting inclusion and understanding among people with and without disabilities, like monthly play dates for families with arts, crafts and entertainment.
The two-acre project’s completion date is projected for spring 2019 and will be located near the recently opened east end of Saluda Shoals Park at 6071 St. Andrews Rd. The playground is also close by the park’s miles of paved and unpaved trails, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, picnic shelters, and Saluda Splash.