In November 2016, the City of Havelock will open a new all-inclusive playground in Walter B Jones Park. The playground was funded through a $450,000 grant from Trillium Health Resources. The playground includes a wide range of play components for children of various ages and abilities. In addition to swings for toddlers, youth, and special needs, the playground includes a wheelchair-accessible swing (the Liberty Swing) that allows children in wheelchairs to enjoy the fun and recreation of swinging.
The Liberty Swing functions in a similar way to an ordinary swing, but there are many design and engineering provisions included in order to safely accommodate a wheelchair. There is a ramp that attaches to the swing so that a wheelchair can be rolled up onto it. The swing also includes an additional feature - a collapsible chair for those who are not necessarily dependent upon the use of a wheelchair but who are unable to use a conventional swing. The chair unfolds when needed and has a retractable harness-type seatbelt.
The Liberty Swing's capsule is made from heavy-duty plastic with an internal steel structure and supports weights of up to 550 pounds making it robust enough to withstand the rigors of an outdoor playground. A comprehensive set of instructions and diagrams on how to safely use the swing are printed on the swing and on a sign mounted to the surrounding gate. Some important points to remember when using the swing:
- Check the ramp to ensure that it is locked in place before backing the wheelchair onto the swing.
- Lock the wheelchair.
- Attach the chains to the wheelchair following the printed instructions mounted on the fence.
- Secure seatbelt which may be found in the locked box on the back of the swing.
- When finished using the swing, ensure that the ramp is in place before releasing the wheelchair. Make sure that the equipment is secured and that the gate is locked. Return keys to the lockbox unless you are using your personal set.
Two keys are required to use the swing - one to unlock the gated area around the swing and another to unlock the swing. If you choose not to have your own set of keys that can be provided, you may obtain keys from the lockbox. Call the Rec office at 252-444-6429 during regular business hours for the code to unlock the lockbox and access the keys.
If you have questions or need assistance, you may contact the Parks and Recreation office Monday through Saturday, 8 am to 8 pm and Sunday noon to 4 pm.