WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – An inclusive park has opened to the public in West Des Moines.
An inclusive park allows children of all abilities to play.
Valley Church in West Des Moines began construction in July 2018 to build a 2,400 square foot park.
Special Needs Ministry Leader Beth Castile said it is a joy to see all the hard work pay off.
“It just warms my heart that people are waiting to play on the playground. It’s a much-needed item for our community, and we are excited to serve our community in this way,” Castile said.
The park features a wheelchair accessible swing, wheelchair accessible merry-go-round, a glider, texture slide and double ride ramp on the playground.
Parent Holly Messenger said seeing a smile on her son’s face, brought her to tears.
“He is such a happy kid and so full of joy. He brings so much joy to my life, and to have some place like this where he is able to do everything and play with these other kids it’s amazing,” Messenger said.
Messenger’s son is in a wheelchair. Messenger said the wheelchair swing is only one of the many features she likes.
“To see him be actually supported and feel really safe is a different experience. I feel like he is a lot more relaxed on this swing and is just kind of able to let loose and enjoy it,” Messenger said.
Due to safety, the wheelchair accessible swing is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you would like to use it, you will need to go into the Valley Community Center and ask for a key to unlock the chains.
Castile said the park is built to bring out different senses like touch, sight and hearing.
“My son loves music, and so I really love that they have different musical instrument things he can play with,” Messenger said.
Valley Church raised $200,000 for the park and it was built by community volunteers.
The park is located at the Valley Community Center at 4444 Fuller Road, West Des Moines.