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Pathway to Walker Upper Elementary’s future playground needs nearly $50K worth of ADA upgrades

Walker Upper Elementary Playground
Walker Upper Elementary Playground(WVIR)
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 9:51 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Students at Walker Upper Elementary have long awaited the arrival of their very own playground, but now a new obstacle is in the way.

The parts have arrived and the installation has been paid for, but now volunteers are told the pathway leading to the playground has fallen out of compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Christa Bennett is the Executive Director of the initiative called “A Playground for Walker.” She says it is going to cost them an extra $50,000 or so to make the pathway to the playground handicap accessible. It is a tall task, she says, they are eager to take on.

“We are having to raise additional funding for that,” Bennett said. “We just got the quote in last week and that was three times but we originally anticipated.”

Leading up to this point, Bennett and other volunteers have raised over $135,000 to pay for the equipment, construction, and more. Now, it is all about making the pathway handicap accessible.

“We welcome input and any donations from local community members, people can share this with their friends and let donors know that we are still looking for additional funding as part of the project,” Bennett said.

Bennett said she thinks the playground will make big difference in the mental health of students post-pandemic, so every penny is worth it.

“This is an equity issue that Walker finally has a playground,” she said. “The number of students of color and economically disadvantaged students at Walker are higher than the statewide average. I think it’s really important that we’re getting those students the opportunity to move their bodies and to have a great recess time.”

Bennett said she is still confident the playground can be built by this summer, as long as they can raise the necessary funds to fix the pathway.

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