Mother wants inclusive park in Dickinson for children with disabilities

A local mother in Dickinson is trying to raise $1.5 million to build a special playground for children in the area.

Sarah Carlson and her son Beckett want a new playground in Dickinson and they already have the spot picked.

"It is already park land so we won't have to fundraise for land in addition to playground equipment, surfacing and bathrooms," said Sarah Carlson, chairman for Friendship Park.

Her son has a disability, and she said the playgrounds in Dickinson just aren't suitable.

"It is about 200 miles . . .maybe a little bit less to go to Mandan and their inclusive playground. That's the nearest playground that really accommodates his needs of wheel mobility and vision impairment," said Carlson.

 Even though the playgrounds in Dickinson are ADA compliant, Carlson and other parents in the area said the playgrounds aren't inclusive for children with disabilities.

"The biggest difficulty we have with playgrounds in Dickinson is the surfacing, being able to access the equipment really is difficult," said Carlson.

The woodchips in some of the playground lots make it difficult for children in wheelchairs, but children with visual impairment also have trouble.

"For children with vision impairment and depth perception issues, there is not a full railing on these stairs. It can cause safety issues and tripping, falling going up the steps." said Kristel Morel, local Dickinson caretaker.

Carlson is optimistic about an inclusive playground coming to Dickinson which she would like to name Friendship Park.

"We would really love to break ground in the Fall of 2018, or Spring of 2019. We know about several of our grants in 2018," said Carlson.

Carlson said about 1/5 families have someone with a disability, so she hopes the community comes together on this.

Carlson and about 10 other parents are working with Dickinson Parks and Recreation, but they are still in the fundraising stage.

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