First inclusive playground opens in the city of Buffalo

When it comes to playtime, there’s no such thing as fun. But in a place where children’s imaginations can run wild, sometimes their bodies can’t.

Zoie, 6, suffers from cerebral palsy, so her motor skills may be affected. This is no problem in this inclusive playground.

“She could use the regular playground, but it poses a lot of difficulty,” said April Eydt, her mother. “With these parks, she can find her way easily. There are no boundaries for her.”

Swings, ramps, accessible sensory areas and more allow Zoie to have fun with all of her siblings, who don’t have disabilities.

“She loves it too because when we take her and Zoie,” April said, “there are things in this playground that she can do with her sister.”

Their parents can also participate.

“These other parks, it’s very difficult to climb when you’re in your child because they’re very narrow, very high and dangerous,” April added.

An inclusive playground opened in April three years ago, but finding one elsewhere?

“It was hard,” April said.

There’s a new one opening Thursday at Tow Path Park in Buffalo. It is the first in the city and one of the few in the county. These playgrounds are scattered throughout New York.

“There are people who don’t have access to transportation,” April said. “They shouldn’t have to leave the city just to take their child to the playground. Same with rural areas. And cities.”

Although some schools have these playgrounds, it’s not something April relies on.

“Almost every school I know of and their parks are closed to the public,” April said.

This new park had a price tag of around $600,000 and April says it is worth every penny. She wants more communities to see the value, too.

“It’s absolutely necessary and it’s really desired,” she said. “Like it makes a lifetime. It makes a difference. It really does.”