A new $500,000 playground is now open in Pendleton - but this is not just any playground. The family who raised the money for the project say for the first time, children and parents can play together in a truly 100 percent inclusive handicapped-accessible playground.
Officials cut the ribbon this weekend on Mason's Mission Playground at 6570 Campbell Boulevard in Pendleton. The playground is named in honor of Mason and Matthew Evchich, who have of Hypomyelinating Leukodystrophy, a neurological disorder that prohibits the boys from walking, talking, crawling or playing on a traditional playground.
“Children everywhere – of all abilities – deserve the right to play and live as normal of a life as possible," said Jason Evchich, the boys' father and Chair of the Mason's Mission Foundation. "Mason’s Mission Playground, which is the only park of its kind in Western New York, gives them that opportunity."
The 12,000-square-foot playground is compliant with federal Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines and features wheelchair accessible rides, slides, sensory play centers and a rose garden to serve as a quiet area for those living with autism. A wheelchair accessible merry-go-round will be installed in the spring of 2018.
Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda), Chair of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Senate Committee, secured a total of $263,040 in state grants in support of the project.
“Mason’s Mission Playground allows those who are differently abled to overcome certain challenges through an environment that promotes social acceptance and inclusiveness of kids of all abilities," Ortt said. "This playground will help bring families closer together while enhancing the quality of life for children with or without special needs.”