All-inclusive playgrounds are officially coming to Manatee County.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the county commission gave conceptual approval as well as directed staff to work with Rotary’s Suncoast Playground Projects Inc. to build three barrier-free inclusive playgrounds in Manatee County. One will be at G.T. Bray and the others will be at Tom Bennett and Buffalo Creek parks.
“We want to go beyond mere accessibility to inclusivity,” said Charlie Hunsicker, the county’s parks and natural resources director. “It is truly a wonderful moment for us.”
With Tuesday’s approval, the commission also OK’d “a preliminary scope of responsibilities that will include agreement elements to be used in developing all associated legal agreements and stipulations for accepting donated playgrounds,” according to agenda materials.
Tearing up, Commissioner Carol Whitmore said this has been lacking in the county.
“This is a great idea,” she said.
Rotary officials are waiting to receive nonprofit status for Suncoast Playground Projects Inc. and then the fundraising will begin to make the three playgrounds a reality. With each playground costing around $500,000, the initial cost estimate for the project is $1.8 million.
“It is truly an innovative partnership,” said Judy Bennett, a Manatee Riverside Rotary member.