Hidalgo County will soon have its first playground meant for everyone.
The community joined forces to push for the new parks for people with special needs.
For parents like Stephanie Wilson who has a 17-year-old son with autism, the future playground behind the Valley View Early College High School in Hidalgo will also help show the community that everyone should have the chance to play and be social outside of their home.
“You would be surprised how hard it is for some of these kids to even step foot on a playground, when the colors are too bright and different textures that don’t go well with them,” Wilson said.
On Thursday, Wilson and her son were part of a groundbreaking for a future inclusive playground. She is also part of the Capable Kids Foundation, an organization from the Río Grande Valley which advocates for more inclusion of people with all kinds of disabilities.
“The hope is to put down the myth that individuals with disabilities are not capable,” said Evelyn Cano, a spokesperson with the Capable Kids Foundation. “They are very capable of anything they set their minds to.”
Capable Kids partnered-up with Hidalgo County Precinct 2 after expressing concerns with the lack of parks accessible to handicapped people and those with cognitive disabilities.
The organization said the playground will not only be a place to have fun, but also a place that will bring more visibility to those with disabilities in the community.
“You will see all kids here, it will not be limited to kids that are fully functional,” said Eddie Cantú, the Hidalgo County Precinct 2 commissioner.
Cantú was able to lease land from Valley View I.S.D. at no cost. Precinct 2 will pay $1 million for the playground. The funding will come from the precinct’s road and parks budget.
For parents like Wilson, the future playground is more than just a place to play.
“The more our society sees our kids out there, the more they begin to understand them and realize, ‘OK, they’re a little different, but that’s OK,’” Wilson said.
Cantú says the playground is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Capable Kids holds events year-round for parents with kids with disabilities. More information can be found on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/lvec2015/ or calling (956) 929-2063.