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County seeking playground grants

August 08, 2000

County seeking playground grants



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


Washington County is going to compete with other Maryland counties for grants that will help make playground equipment accessible to everyone.

If successful, the county will receive at least a $37,500 grant for a more accessible playground. The County Commissioners Tuesday approved a request to pursue the grant.

The Governor's Office on Individuals with Disabilities and two private groups, Boundless Playgrounds Inc., and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, have announced a $1.75 million partnership to improve 10 playgrounds in Maryland. The project requires a 50 percent county match for each state dollar.

The goal is to have all children within one hour of a playground that is accessible to anyone, said Linn Hendershot, chairman of the Many Individuals Helping Individuals (MIHI) organization.

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MIHI has donated thousands of dollars in accessible recreational equipment to the county over the last 20 years, said Norman Bassett, a county spokesman. The organization has offered to do part of the county's share through in-kind contributions such as labor.

Too often, disabled children can't go to playgrounds because of the way they are designed, said Hendershot. Grass and mulch around playground equipment make it hard for people in wheelchairs to get close to the equipment.

MIHI board member Sharon Landis and Hendershot said the county should pursue the grants so it could have playground equipment accessible by anyone at one of the county parks by 2002.

The Martin L. "Marty" Snook Park was mentioned as a possible location because of its size and proximity to the interstate.

"It's the perfect setting for what we are trying to do," Hendershot said.

The group's second choice is the Hagerstown City Park. Repairs to pathways would have to be made to make it more accessible to wheelchairs, he said.

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