MERRIAM, Kan. — Merriam is moving forward with plans to upgrade playground equipment at Chatlain Park.
On Monday, city crews removed a swing set at the park to make room for the installation of new equipment later this spring. Merriam Parks and Recreation Director Anna Slocum said the old swing set will be replaced with a We-Go-Swing set.
The We-Go-Swing is an inclusive piece of playground equipment developed by Landscape Structures. Park officials said the We-Go-Swing lets kids in wheelchairs swing with their friends without having to transfer out of their wheelchairs.
“We started exploring a We-Go-Swing, which allows for someone who utilizes a wheelchair to actually roll into the swing and sit across from an able-bodied, non-wheelchair participant as well. Friends can play across from each other without transferring,” Slocum said.
Slocum said the We-Go-Swing set will be the first piece of playground equipment in the city that doesn’t require a child to leave their wheelchair.
“Most of our accessible playground equipment requires a child or a participant, an adult, to transfer out of their chairs onto the piece of equipment. This allows them to roll directly onto the piece of equipment and stay in their chair,” Slocum said. “It is one of our goals that we have something at every single park that is inclusive and allows for that side-by-side play that we want to see happening in our lives.”
Sandy Metzger and her husband Richard visit the park multiple times a week. Metzger said the new equipment will be a great addition to the park.
“Any improvements I think are wonderful. I like the idea of what kind of swing set enclosure it’s going to be,” Metzger said.
The project will cost approximately $80,000 to complete. Slocum said the project is dual-funded from the special parks budget and the equipment reserve program.
Slocum said the project should be complete by mid-May, and the equipment will be open to people of all ages.
“With this We-Go, it’s not just for children. Adults in wheelchairs can also enter the swing and swing with their children. It is designed to be all inclusive. Anybody who utilizes a wheelchair will have accessibility to use this swing with their kids,” Slocum said.