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Handicap-Friendly Playground in Works in Albemarle County

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Bennett's parents are raising money to build a playground in their child's honor. Bennett's parents are raising money to build a playground in their child's honor.
Bennett McClurken-Gibney died of spinal muscular atrophy. Bennett McClurken-Gibney died of spinal muscular atrophy.
Albemarle students helped plan the playground on Thursday. Albemarle students helped plan the playground on Thursday.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Middle school students in Albemarle County are weighing-in on a new all-abilities play area. A new playground will be created in memory of a boy who passed away this year from a rare muscle disease. 

Bennett McClurken-Gibney passed away in February from spinal muscular atrophy. His favorite thing to do was play outside, but no playgrounds in the area worked well with his wheelchair.

Now, his parents are on a mission to make Bennett’s dream playground a reality. The parents are currently fundraising for the playground and have a few sites in mind.

On Thursday, students got to work at Mountaintop Montessori School. They made mock-up models of what an all-abilities playground could look like.

Bennett’s parents are working with the children on getting potential ideas for the design as well as educating them on what it’s like living with disabilities.

“I think this has been a real eye-opening experience for all of them, particularly to some of the smallest details that most of us don’t even think about,” said Heather Cormons of Mountaintop Montessori School.

The students were excited and thought of out-of-the-box features such as a wheelchair-friendly zip line.

The playground will cost between $4 million and $5 million to build. Right now, the family is still in the fundraising stages and hopes to have the playground finished in the next three years. Donations for the playground can be made here.