Junior Auxiliary introduces handicap accessible swing at McKee Park

Christopher (left) and Laura (middle) Whatley push their daughter, Ellie Whatley, in the new handicap accessible swing at McKee Park with Starkville Parks and Recreation Director Herman Peters (right) on Monday morning.
Staff Writer

Starkville’s first handicap accessible swing became the newest feature Monday at McKee Park.

The swing was presented by the Junior Auxiliary.

Junior Auxiliary President Jordan Ramsey told the SDN she hopes with the new swing, special needs children can now have a safe place to play alongside their peers.

“Something that’s really come to light with us and having members with special needs children is that there’s not really anywhere in our parks to have ADA swings or ADA accessible equipment,” Ramsey said. “We decided as our chapter to get these put into the park and hopefully it’ll make our community better by having somewhere that these kind of children can play.”

Ramsey then explained how after working with children from the T.K. Martin Center for Disability and Technology, Junior Auxiliary realized a trip to the park was not a simple task. Ramsey said they decided to help change that with the swing set.  Ramsey also expressed one of Junior Auxiliary’s initiatives for the chapter is to enhance Starkville’s parks and create a better environment for all children.

Starkville Parks and Recreation Director Herman Peters said this is only the beginning. The goal is to add handicap accessible swings to all parks within Starkville and create a safe and fun experience for special needs children.

“We want to include and make sure all kids of all ages regardless of any type of disability can be able to use our parks,” Peters said.

The first child to use the swing set was Ellie Whatley, daughter of Christopher and Laura Whatley.

Christopher Whatley said his family can now enjoy McKee Park even more with the new swings.

“We ride bikes out here, we’ve always been swinging, but these right here makes it a little more user friendly to get in and out of,” Christopher Whatley said.

As her parents pushed her in the swing, Ellie Whately laughed and smiled.

“All kids love a swing,” Christopher Whately said.

The handicap accessible swing was made possible by the Junior Auxiliary year round sponsors.