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All abilities welcome: Unique new accessible park to open today

FiberTel construction worker Casey Phillips drills a hole for an electrical conduit as construction continues on an all-abilities park Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Spanish Fork, Utah. (Isaac Hale/The Daily Herald via AP)

SPANISH FORK, Utah — The long-anticipated Spanish Fork all-abilities park that will feature a wheelchair swing, sensory garden, ground-level merry-go-round and other accessible amenities is set to open today.

The Spanish Fork City Council announced during its Aug. 25 meeting that construction on the $5 million park, which began in February, was near completion and that it would be open to the public within weeks.

“We’re excited for this park to open up,” said Councilmember Chad Argyle. “It has been something that we’ve done amidst everything that’s been going on. We’ve managed to get it completed.”

Argyle became emotional when talking about the park, which he praised as a resource that has the “ability to serve every single citizen in our community.”

“And this is going to be something that’s going to serve our city for a long, long time,” he said as his voice quivered. “And I think the residents of this community, when they get an opportunity to see the amenities in the park, they are going to be so impressed. Even I was impressed with the walk-around.”

The park will feature three ziplines with seat belts and harnesses, metal slides to accommodate children with cochlear implants, face-to-face swings for children and parents and a sensory garden with a wheel-chair accessible trail winding through it.

“This is definitely going to be one of a kind in the state of Utah, if not the country,” Spanish Fork Parks and Recreation Director Dale Robinson said in a video explaining the park. “So it’s exciting that we’re able to have it here in Spanish Fork.”

The multimillion dollar park project was funded through grants, donations and impact fees, according to Robinson.

“It’s been something we’ve wanted and felt that we’ve needed in our community for some time,” he said.

The park was designed by the American Fork-based In Site Design Group, which based its design off of “input from several local families with kids with special needs,” according to Spanish Fork officials.

“The goal of this park is to have something for everyone,” city officials wrote in a description of the park, “regardless of their abilities.”

Spanish Fork resident Sheila Perez, whose teenage son, Jordan, suffers from the brain injury hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and uses a wheelchair, said the park would be an invaluable resource for her as a parent.

“Finally a place that we can take our son,” Perez said in November when city officials first announced the project.

South Utah County residents voiced excitement on social media at the news of the park’s grand opening.

“I’m so glad that this is being built,” one person wrote. “It will be such a great addition to our city. Worth every dollar spent.”

“My wife is in a wheelchair, so parks like this are nice for her to take our daughter to, by herself,” another person wrote.

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