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New Playground Will Cater to Disabled Iowans

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A new playground that caters to disabled Iowans is coming to a Des Moines park, making it the second of its kind in the city.

Des Moines resident Michael Belger’s child isn’t disabled, but he said if he were, there would not be many places to take them to play.

"It gives them more chances of being a kid, or however old they are, it’s just fun. I’m 25 years old and I love playing at the park," Berger said.

But not all Iowans have that chance. According to the State Data Center, nearly 30,000 Iowans ages 18 or younger have a physical disability.

All-inclusive playgrounds with harness swings and sensory equipment allow Iowans with different abilities to play.

"It’s also great for grandparents to be able to play, and vets who are wounded, to bring everyone together to be able to play," said Megan Grandgeorge of Variety  - the Children’s Charity.

Out of 76 parks in Des Moines, only the Ashley Oakland playground fits those needs.

"It’s awesome. There are a lot of features out here for the kids and they get to come out here and play like a normal kid," said Berger.

A second all-inclusive playground is now in the works, slated to go in the Riverview Park. It’s all a part of the Riverview Park Project, a $4 million revitalization funded by the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation and private donors.

However, the new playground portion is a gift from Variety - the Children’s Charity to the city.

"We fundraise for these parks, we build them, and then we gift them to the city and they upkeep them up,” said Grandgeorge.

The city is not sure how much it will cost for the upkeep on this free playground, but officials do know the new playground that caters to everyone will be around for years to come.

Variety - the Children’s Charity still has a couple hundred thousand dollars left to fundraise, but groundbreaking is planned for spring of 2018.