ADA playground keystone of Greenwood park renovtion.

PositionSaluda Shoals Park, Greenwood County, South Carolina

This story first appeared in the July 11 print edition of GSA Business Report.

Irmo's Leo Bugenske loves the outdoors so much so that the 8-year-old has inspired at least two cutting-edge play parks across his state and one that holds his name.

Bugenske was also born with severe spinal muscular atrophy.

He gets from place to place with the aid of a modified stroller due to deterioration of nerve cells impacting his movement, but according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the condition does not impact patients' intellect or ability to perceive the world around them.

So when Bugenske's family wanted their son, and other children like him, to be able to enjoy swings and tower platforms alongside his able-bodied cohorts, they helped Saluda Shoals Park craft Leo's Landing Inclusive Playground in 2019.

The park includes a Treehouse Village connected by a ramp, a wheelchair platform swing, hobbit-inspired playhouses and recumbent bouncy-chairs, among other features, according to the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission. Contract Construction, builders of the park, celebrated a ribbon cutting of the park's two-acre expansion, including an ADA-accessible zip line, terrain park and a music and decompression garden on May 5, according to a company statement.

The success of Leo's Landing prompted Greenwood County to use $1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act toward making an ADA-accessible playground the keystone of a $10 million refurbishment plan for the 80-acre Greenwood County Recreation Complex, according to county officials.

Greenwood County received $13.7 million in ARPA funds, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

"It's a shame not to have a playground for everybody to play on," Brad Cuttill, director of Greenwood County's Parks and Recreation Department, told SC Biz News. "So I'm very excited about that: to update that to get it where all bodies can use it."

The playground is at the top of a project wish list, which Cuttill admits won't be completed with the first $9.1 million allocated from the county's capital fund, for the complex.

He expects the 40-year park...

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