Gaining access: Grant funds could pay for playground accessible to children with handicaps

Published 6:42 pm Monday, June 22, 2015

Washington’s Parks and Recreation Department is applying for a grant to build a playground that’s accessible to handicapped children at Havens Gardens.

The city is seeking the grant (amount to be determined after all applications have been submitted) from East Carolina Behavioral Health, which is providing the Play Together grants. Municipal or county parks and recreation departments in a 19-county area may apply for the grants.

“The funding will be applied to the construction of accessible playgrounds and playground equipment for up to 8 parks of varying sizes depending on the population,” reads a memorandum from Kristi Roberson, the city’s parks and recreation manager, to the mayor and City Council. Grant recipients will be notified by Aug. 31.

Grants cannot be used to build playgrounds on school sites. Playgrounds paid for by such grants must be open to the public. If awarded a grant, the city is not required to contribute city dollars toward building an accessible playground or purchasing playground equipment that’s accessible to handicapped children, according to the memorandum.

If the city receives a Play Together grant, it would complement the redevelopment of Havens Gardens.

The City Council, during a meeting last year, unanimously authorized the city to apply for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant funds to help pay for improvements to Havens Gardens.

The city decided to apply for the grant funding in two consecutive grant-funding cycles. The city should know by next month if it will receive the grant funds.

Earlier this year, the council unanimously adopted the updated Havens Gardens master plan prepared by Susan Suggs.

Suggs’ revised plan calls for moving the Havens Gardens parking lot south of N.C. Highway 32 westward to provide more open area at the east end of the park. She also recommends adding a loop walking trail west of the parking lot. Other suggestions include building a shelter on the west end of Havens Gardens so it overlooks the Pamlico River, provide a fenced-in play area for small children and adding facilities for a splash park, bocce and beach volleyball. The plan also calls for building a second pier at the park, a pedestrian pier that would join the existing fishing pier at the park.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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