Bakersfield parks get handicap accessible playgrounds

Saunders and Beale Parks get upgrades with handicap accessible equipment.
BAKERSFIELD, CA - Just a few days ago, there was only one playground in Bakersfield with one piece of equipment that handicapped children could use. On Wednesday, Bakersfield unveiled two new playgrounds that feature handicap accessible equipment.

The playground upgrades come after a mother with a disabled toddler asked the city for help, saying she it made her sad to see her child left out when her other children went to the parks.

Another mother with a disabled child also had trouble finding equipment her daughter could use.

"Just because they're special doesn't mean they should be left out," said Nicole Ramirez last year. Ramirez's four-year-old daughter has cerebral palsy and could only use the one swing at Central Park.

Councilman Russell Johnson announced Saunders and Beale Parks now have handicap play equipment.

"The special equipment that was most notable was the swing. It's got a special crossbar. You still get the up and down motion, but without causing some of the other stresses that a child may get from a normal swing," said Johnson.

Ramirez even helped city staff choose the new equipment.

"She met with city staff with me," said Johnson. "She pointed out some special equipment. She did some follow-up meetings as well, and they picked out some equipment that really is usable for a broader population."

The park's upgrades were several months behind schedule, but Challenger and Wilderness Parks will soon have upgrades, and at no additional cost to taxpayers since the parks were slated for upgrades this year.
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