West Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) – The City of West Columbia held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its newest park and play area Monday while a large crowd of onlookers enjoyed a beautiful morning. Carraway Park, which is located at the Riverwalk, is an all-inclusive park that is described by the city as a place for, “All Children to Play Together.” It is located at 212 Hudson Street in the River District of the city.
The park was the dream of many, but most especially Mayor Pro Tem and mayoral candidate Tem Miles and his wife. The couple have a beautiful daughter that is challenged by a handicap. She is confined to a wheelchair; something the park was designed to accommodate. Miles was front and center snipping the ribbon on a park where no child will be excluded in the play and laughter.
According to the city, this park is really a one of a kind. As proof of that “All Inclusive” concept, children from the Special Education program at Lexington School District Two's Northside Middle School and Riverbank Elementary School attended the ceremony ready to try it out after all the adults finished their remarks.
According to the city’s website at www.westcolumbiasc.gov, the park brings families together allowing children with and without disabilities a play space to be used together. Children of all abilities can interact with each other and be free to play, exercise, and have fun. Its features increased accessibility for those who use wheelchairs or walkers, and also has features for those who have limited vision or vision impairment. The park hosts a sensory-rich environment that enables children to develop physically, socially, and emotionally. Even the restrooms were designed to accommodate patrons of all ages with all abilities.
Dignitaries on hand Monday included Miles, West Columbia Mayor Bobby Horton, US Rep. Joe Wilson, SC State Senator Nikki Setzler, SC State Representative Micah Caskey and West Columbia Councilmember Mike Green to name a few. Setzler and Caskey both worked tirelessly to secure a $250,000 Parks and Recreation Commission grant for new playground equipment and the all-important parking lot. Caskey also said that the Central Carolina Community Foundation was also a financial contributor providing a grant to help build the park.
More and more parking spaces are constantly being added across the city’s River District, but this parking lot is so important to Carraway Park. Its integration with the play area allows people with physical limitations easy access.
Commemorative bricks have been sold and are also integrated in the park. The bricks are available from the West Columbia Beautification Foundation (www.beautifywestcolumbia.org). According to town officials, these bricks show that the community is vested in this park and the concept of including all children who want to play.
The parking spaces are available for overflow parking from the Riverwalk. If you plan to go to the park, please heed all laws regarding parking in handicapped spaces. Those are key to the success of the park and all laws regarding that will be enforced.