New handicap accessible playground stands in Conway Springs


A nonprofit known as Dilly's Place ceremonially cut the ribbon to their new handicap accessible playground Saturday in Conway Springs finishing their plans after ten years.

"It's wonderful," said Michael Billey, a resident whose kids played at the park after the ribbon cutting.

Billey was just one of the many residents at the park with his wife and three children. His son has a disability, so he said he thinks the playground will be great for them and those in and outside of Conway Springs.

"I have a child with autism," Billey said. "I know other children with disabilities, we have future's unlimited in Wellington with kids with disabilities."

The idea for the park started with Cheryl Kelly and Crystal Hinnen. The mother and daughter duo that founded the nonprofit that led the charge to get the playground built. Kelly and Hinnen said they saw a woman in Wellington carry her son from his wheelchair to a playground and that's what started the idea.

"We came home and my mom was like, 'We have to do something,'" Hinnen said.

She said at that point they started leading the charge on getting it built. According to Kelly, Hinnen's mother, their idea was based around fun and learning for everyone that got to play on the playground.

"For able and disabled children to play together and to learn from each other what better way to learn from each other than through play," Kelly said.

Hinnen said the playground was funded through fundraisers, grants and donations that came in from all over.

"We had people sending hundreds of dollars from almost every state in the U.S.," Hinnen said.

Now, ten years later their idea has become a reality. Today they got to watch all the children play on the new playground.

"My son and I were the first ones on there," Hinnen said. "Then I said, 'Come on, let's go' and all the kids ran and they're just having a ball."

The playground has rubber flooring, which Hinnen said is safe for falls if they occur. The entire set is wheel chair accessible and has different features like slides and moving parts that everyone can play on.

"There's things they can actually do in the playground that is not accessible hardly anywhere," Hinnen said.

The playground is in the middle of the Conway Springs City Park.

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