Bennett’s Village wants to create an accessible treehouse

Bennett’s Village is trying to get enough funding to begin building a new project for children with disabilities.
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 2:14 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Bennett’s Village is trying to get enough funding to begin building a new project for children with disabilities.

The inclusive park has been planning phase one of its newest project, an accessible treehouse for Pen Park.

“It allows us to keep the current playground space while we build it. Too often, folks in wheelchairs, there’s not a lot of trails and things that have access to the woods around Charlottesville,” Bennett’s Village co-founder Kara McClurken said. “We thought it would be a good project to show people the kinds of things we’re thinking about in terms of inclusive design.”

This treehouse project is in partnership with Challenge Access, and would include unique additions, such as electric plug-ins.

“One of the reasons we are going to do that is when we talked to folks in the disability community in Charlottesville, they talked about the importance of always having their cell phones charged and access to plugs for medical equipment and those sorts of things,” McClurken said. “Another thing that’s different about this treehouse is it’s going to be multi-levels, and we’re going to provide an ADA accessible switchback between the two level, so that folks who have mobility challenges, we’ll be able to access both the upper and lower sections.”

The lower section will also include fencing.

“Sometimes families don’t take kids to play spaces because it isn’t in the fenced in area, and they may have children who wander off or you could have older adults like grandparents who may have some issues related to wandering off,” McClurken said.

The accessible treehouse project has already raised $155,000. The goal is $500,000.

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