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Children flock to new special-needs playground
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Two years of fundraising have come to a swinging, spinning, and zipping conclusion.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday at Hickory Creek Elementary for the opening of Petey’s Project, a special playground designed to meet the needs of any child, regardless of their physical ability.
“Playgrounds are not supposed to be a place where children are isolated, alone or scared,” said Zach Sutton, the organizer who spearheaded Petey’s Project. “Plato said you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation. We can now look into every child’s eyes and say let’s go play.”
Raising funds for the special-needs playground was a two-year process. It began in August 2012 when Petey’s Project was one of the charity organizations at Smokin’ in McMinnville. Since then, over 50 businesses, community groups, and individuals have made donations to make the playground a reality.
“We are thrilled to have this at Hickory Creek because play is such a large part of learning,” said Hickory Creek principal Vicki Dodd.
Added Director of Schools Bobby Cox, “We gladly accept this very fine donation to our school.”
After children helped cut the ceremonial ribbon with a giant pair of scissors, they were quick to make a dash to the playground. One of the more unique items is a zipline-type apparatus where the child is placed in a secure seat and can travel forward or backward down a rail. There is also a modified see-saw and merry-go-round.
While the playground is on the campus at Hickory Creek, it’s open to the public from 5 to 7 p.m. daily.