Cleveland Park will host the city's first inclusive playground
A generous gift from a Greenville family to honor their daughter will provide a lasting contribution to other families with special needs children.
The Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department presented the Brooks' Playground project to City Council on Oct. 23, 2023, and aims to have the city's first inclusive playground open in 2024. Play pieces designed for ages six months to 13+ years will create an experience for children of all abilities, ages and communities.
New Playground Part of Larger Cleveland Park Renovation Plan
Located near Shelter 6 in Cleveland Park, Brooks' Playground will be adjacent to the Julie Valentine Memorial, near Woodland Way and Lakehurst Street. Other planned improvements in that area include:
a new Shelter 6 accommodating six picnic tables
a new retention wall surrounding the Julie Valentine memorial
a renovated rain garden
a raised crosswalk with signal leading to the Hincapie Path of the Swamp Rabbit Trail
new restrooms, and
a relocated turf volleyball court
YOU CAN Support Safe Open Spaces
Donor opportunities are available for individuals, businesses and organizations wanting to support public spaces carefully designed to promote play among children of all abilities.
For more information, contact Partnership Development Manager Donna Carver, 864-467-4091.
A Playground for Brooks
Written by Reagin Foster, Brooks' mother
We knew our daughter would have challenges based on images taken in utero. Brooks was born on January 21, 2019, and a month later, we nervously left the NICU with our beautiful, red-haired baby, who would later be diagnosed with a very rare condition called Pontine Tegmental Cap Dysplasia.
We soon learned that Brooks would be non-verbal, struggle to eat by mouth, be partially deaf and blind, and likely never walk on her own. We didn't know what to expect for her quality of life and could only hope and pray our little girl developed and thrived. Today, Brooks is progressing nicely and is truly the most loving child you could ever hope for, but as part of the special needs community, we have faced many obstacles.
Our family loves being outside and Brooks’ younger sister, Ellie, (inset photo of Brooks, at left, with Ellie) always wants to play at the playground. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to find a playground where the girls can play together and have access to the necessary amenities. This is where the idea for Brooks’ Playground began.
Our vision was a place where Brooks could play outside with her siblings and friends. A play area with equipment and resources that meet the needs of children with a diverse range of disabilities, both visible and non-visible, and a fun, inclusive, and sensory-rich environment where ALL kids can develop critical physical, social and emotional skills.
This playground is truly an answer to our prayers. It has been specifically designed to consider all differences and provide multiple outlets for children to be active. We are so excited to help bring this special project to life and hope it will provide immense joy to children and families in our community for many years to come.