Lauderdale County’s first sensory playground for children and adults coming to McFarland Park


FLORENCE, Ala. — Earlier in October, there was a groundbreaking, in the literal sense. After Rotary Club members from both the Florence and Sheffield clubs announced that the sensory, tactile, and adaptive recreation—or STAR—playground project is moving forward, crews immediately got to work, clearing what was once the grounds of another playground.

It’s located underneath the O’Neal Bridge at McFarland Park in Florence.

Tricia Lewis is the co-chair for the STAR park said that the playground will be the first of its kind in Lauderdale County, and it’s not just for kids.

“It will mean so much to the kids because it’s so easily accessible,” Lewis said. “They can get here, parents can bring kids in here, it’ll be fenced, it’ll be safe.”

And whether or not you have a special need, Lewis said, “It’s also for adults; it will be built extra strong so that adults can be with the child on the playground.”

Co-chair Bill Armstrong said the playground would not be possible without contributing partners like Alabama Associated General Contractors that is supplying materials and workers.

“I don’t know that we could’ve gotten to our goal without them; we’re not quite there yet but…the little train going over the mountain down the hill, we are on our way down the hill,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said the project is about two-thirds of the way funded, lacking around $80,000. The Rotary clubs are selling commemorative bricks to help reach that goal.

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