Wilkes County church to build ‘inclusive’ play park
    June 12 2017 by Seth Brown, BR Content Editor

    Fairplains Baptist Church in North Wilkesboro is sending a message to their community by introducing the area’s first inclusive play park.

    Contributed photo
    An artist’s rendering of a future playground shows a variety of equipment to suit different children’s needs.

    Pastor David Dyer said the congregation wants families with special needs children to know “there is a church that’s thinking of them and wants to show the love of Christ to them in a real, tangible way.”
    Inclusive play equipment is specially designed to allow children with both physical and mental special needs to play alongside their peers, overcoming challenges posed by traditional playground equipment.
    For example, the often humorous buildup of static electricity that occurs when children play on plastic slides can short-circuit cochlear implants worn by those with a hearing impairment. Also, loose playground surfacing, such as mulch, can render the space inaccessible to a child with a wheelchair or other mobility device.
    The Wilkes Play Park proposed by Fairplains would offer a metal roller slide to eliminate static and poured rubber surfacing to facilitate mobility. Other features include bucket seat swings with harnesses; an accessible zip-line; and a number of sensory-rich play stations to engage visual, tactile and auditory systems.
    “The goal is to have children with special needs playing alongside children without special needs,” said Dyer in a phone call with the Biblical Recorder. “Most places aren’t set up to accommodate that kind of interaction. We want those kids playing together.”
    A newsletter released by the church said, “We can change the way our future citizens and leaders identify people with special needs. By embracing and celebrating different abilities, everyone can develop understanding and compassion for others like never before.”
    The pastor also emphasized the project’s community focus.
    “We want people to know this is not a church playground,” he said. “This is a community play park that happens to be on church property.”
    The inclusive playground, along with an adjacent ADA-compliant building and outdoor seating area, will be available for birthday parties and other events by reservation at no cost. The area will be open for use seven days a week, and it will feature nighttime lighting.
    Dyer said it’s the only place of its kind, not only in Wilkes County, but in the surrounding areas as well. The church wanted to meet “a real need that exists in our community,” and this is how God led them, according to Dyer.
    The congregation views the project as an outreach ministry. Several panels with Bible verses and a cross will feature prominently throughout the play area.
    “I don’t have to be down there for those kids and families to see the gospel,” Dyer said. 
    “First, they see it in our action: we’ve done this because of Jesus. Second they see it in the actual pieces. There’s scripture everywhere in this park. The cross is literally part of the surfacing. You can’t get around it; you’ve got to go over it. All that is very intentional.”
    With the financial support of the community, local businesses and other churches, Fairplains has raised more than $107,000 of the $221,000 needed to complete the project, which they hope to unveil Sept. 9.
    For more information, contact Dyer at (336) 452-9221. Donations can be made online at GoFundMe.com/WilkesPlayPark or checks mailed to Fairplains Baptist Church, 141 Fairplains Church St., North Wilkesboro, NC 28659. 

    6/12/2017 2:53:39 PM by Seth Brown, BR Content Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Children, Construction, Special needs

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