Handicapped swings placed at Fords Woods

Kelsey Gerhardt Staff Writer

September 12, 2013

If you happen to be jogging on the paved trails or playing on the jungle gym at Fords Woods Park you will see some new and unfamiliar playground equipment. The city of Middlesboro recently put in a set of handicapped swings that will benefit those with special needs in the area.

The new swing set has one large flat metal swing that a person can wheel themselves onto and a rope that hangs from the top bar to allow them to pull themselves. Adjacent to that swing is a pair of plastic seat swings with seat belts for special needs children that physically cannot hold up their back or body.

Since this addition in August, Middlesboro resident Anthony Parks has visited the swing to enjoy the park.

“If we had one of these when I was a kid I would’ve never left the park,” said Parks.

The total cost of the swings was $2,600 and was budgeted from coal severance funds. This money is allotted only for community benefit and not for city employee salary or extra city expenditures.

“I had a lady that approached me and her handicapped nephew didn’t have anywhere to swing. That really touched my heart and me and the mayor both wanted to get something going,” said Middlesboro City Council member Kevin Barnett.

Also discussed at the Parks Department Committee Meeting on Tuesday was the removal of large trees at Fords Woods Park and the addition of a paved ramp to make the new swing set more easily accessible. The committee would like to stress that this new set of equipment should only be used by those with special needs.