New Playground Equipment Accommodates All Abilities At Local Park

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Parks and playgrounds are an important part to every local neighborhood. They're always a place filled with fun and laughter, but it can sometimes be difficult for parents to find a piece of equipment that is accessible for children with disabilities.

The Fort Smith Parks and Recreation Department is looking to expand their playgrounds so children of all ages and abilities can play together.

An AeroGlider will be coming to Harley A. Wilson Park. This will change how kids interact with one another. The AeroGlider has enough room for two wheelchair users to sit side by side. It even includes a unique stepping platform on both ends which provides an opportunity for more kids to play. The piece of equipment also has couches on each end for children or adults to sit and enjoy the ride.

When children board the AeroGlider, it will sway back and forth in a gliding motion. There's also a table in the middle to help keep your balance.

The new addition to the playground will be fun for all ages, but especially children with disabilities as it is sometimes difficult to find equipment that is safe for them to enjoy.

Parents who have kids with disabilities believe this will make a difference for their child when heading out to the park. "Kids in wheelchairs have nothing to do when they go to the park," said Nelson Cirilo. "They just sit there and see all the other kids having fun." Other parents we spoke to said that they think this will be something that every child can do.

Area parents also think the city should add the AeroGlider to other parks around the River Valley. "Creekmore definitely. Just because there's a lot of kids there playing," said Cirilo.

Fort Smith Parks and Recreation said the equpment will be installed at the park sometime in August. The AeroGlider cost a little less than $26,000. The money for the piece of equipment was donated by a local resident.

If all goes well at Harley A. Wilson Park, the Parks and Recreation Department said they plan to install the equipment at other Fort Smith parks.