Lots of families will be outdoors for the holiday weekend. Some will visit a playground named for a person who defined overcoming a disability.
The John Mark Stallings Special Needs Accessible Playground Splash Pad of Morgan County is a “work-in-progress.”
It’s a state-of-the-art playground for children with special needs. The playground is located in Sparkman Park in Hartselle, but its reputation has extended far beyond the city limits and the county line.
“It’s for all children. Many people see, when you are doing a special needs playground, they think it’s for entirely special needs children,” said Bob Francis. The importance is the interaction with other children.”
The playground has won awards for its concept and design. It has a splash pad designed to beat the summer heat.
Francis is the project manager, and says the playground is a labor of love.
“There are so many people. Our organizational chart, there are probably two dozen people,” said Francis. “There are civic clubs. It’s not about the individuals.”
The playground took more than five years to create, and is a dream come true for kids with disabilities.
“I don’t think we’ve overlooked anything for anything wtih a child of special needs,” said Francis.