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Dream of accessible playground closer to reality

By By Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A new enclosed playground with handicap accessible swings was opened to the pubic on Sunday at Sparkman Civic Center following a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by about 100 elected officials, civic club representatives and other interested citizens.
The playground represents phase one of the proposed Special Needs Accessible Playground (SNAP). It features swings, which can be safely used by individuals with handicaps, even those who are confined to a wheelchair. It also has a thick synthetic surface and is protected by a decorative wrought iron fence.
SNAP voluntary coordinator Bob Francis explained the swings were purchased by Hartselle Civitan Club three years ago and placed in storage at the civic enter because the money needed to construct a concrete pad and surface for them was not available. That changed recently after the city received a state grant with the help of Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur.
He recognized Hartselle Parks and Recreation Department, GE volunteers and Hannah Landscaping Service for their work on the project.
A highlight of the ribbon-cutting ceremony was the presentation of a $10,000 donation to SNAP by GE volunteers.
Several handicapped children were resent for the event. They were asked to register and a drawing was held to determine who would have the opportunity to use the swing area first. That honor went to Larry Byrd, 13, of Hartselle. He chose to use a swing that is designed to accommodate a wheelchair.

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