LUBBOCK, Texas – An indoor park for kids of all ability levels is being built at McAllister Park off Milwaukee Avenue and Marsha Sharp Freeway.
Cassie Johnston, executive director of Alström Angels, said her daughter has been living with Alström syndrome her whole life, a condition that can cause complete blindness, deafness, congestive heart failure and other organ damage.
Johntson said it was her daughter that inspired her to not only start her organization but to work to build an all-inclusive park.
“When my daughter Bryce was young, we had a lot of issues with her being able to access the equipment and a lot of sensory issues,” said Johnston, “I just thought there should be a place for kids like Bryce, kids who have special needs or disabilities that’s made with them in mind and a place where the environment is always constant.”
Johnston said the park, called Milestones Development & Play Park, will be 20,000 square feet and include structures for smaller children, a home structure that will be two stories tall and a big jungle safari structure.
“It’s two and a half levels, and it has everything from a swinging drawbridge to slides that look like waterfalls,” said Johnston.
Diana Dowd, a parent, said she and her family are highly anticipating the construction of the park so her daughter, who has Down Syndrome, can have a play space where she and other children of different abilities can engage.
“It’s all about inclusion,” said Dowd, “Bring your children that are neurotypical, as well as children who have special needs or or challenges. It’s bringing them together.”
Johnston said the pandemic had impacted their fundraising efforts and that her organization will continue to fundraise more funds to help develop the park.
“We’ve already broken ground and we’re starting to build the actual structure,” said Johnston, “We still have about $400,000 to raise, though, and that actually buys the equipment the place structures for inside the park.”