Disabled swing vandalized

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 26, 2016

Part of the handicapped swing in Friendship Park was damaged. Photo by Cassandra Favre

Part of the handicapped swing in Friendship Park was damaged.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Wednesday morning, officials with the city of Picayune discovered that the wheelchair accessible swing at Kids Kingdom in Friendship Park had incurred damage, rendering it unsafe to ride.
Picayune Parks and Recreation Director Trevor Adam said he was alerted to the problem by Picayune Police Department Capt. Theresa Milar and Picayune Public Works Director Eric Morris.
The bolts that hold together the cable ramp were broken in two different spots on the swing, Adam said.
“Once the person in the wheelchair rolls onto the swing, the cable ramp acts as a seatbelt and keeps the occupant locked,” Adam said. “It’s an inexpensive fix.”
However, there’s another issue at play here. Often, the swing is being used by children who are not confined to a wheelchair, Adam said.
“Sometimes we see more than two children standing on the swing,” he said. “Daily, we ask people to get off. This swing is intended for our special needs residents and visitors. The problem is that the children are getting on it and rocking back and forth.”
As a preventative measure, Adam said the city plans to enclose the swing inside a fence.
The city is also currently accepting bids for a camera and lighting system, which Adam said he hopes will discourage people from damaging the park.
According to previous coverage, the swing was installed last December. The Picayune Police Department’s summer camp participants raised $6,000 to contribute toward the purchase of the swing. In addition, the Kiwanis Club of the Greater Picayune Area also chipped in $2,500 toward the installation of the swing.
There is also signage posted to alert people to the fact that the swing is for handicapped citizens only, previous coverage states.
Adam asks that parents remove their able bodied children from the handicapped swing if they attempt to play on it.
“Friendship Park is a place where families come every day,” Adam said. “We’re constantly improving the quality of the park here, but it’s got to be taken care of by everyone. It’s everybody’s park.”

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