People in Pike County are stepping up to build a new park any child can enjoy, even those who cannot walk.
There are more than 1,000 patients at the Lexington Shriner's Hospital for Children from the Big Sandy area. Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn says it is important to give these kids somewhere to have fun.
"They live here, and we want to provide a facility that they can enjoy throughout the rest of the year to have a normal life," Blackburn said.
The organization Hillbilly Christmas in July is a driving force to build a new special needs park for the kids of the area. It is working with the city to get this park built.
They wanted to build one similar to Pikeville City Park, but officials say it will cost more than $200,000 because of the special requirements.
"You have to add a ramp to everything because kids need to have access to these. It's gotta have a good ramp," Jimmy Kinney, of Hillbilly Christmas in July, said.
In the new park, Blackburn says swings will be on the ground so that kids have easier access to them.
"It allows special needs kids a chance to develop social skills they need when interacting with other kids," Blackburn said.
He says this would be the only park of its kind in eastern Kentucky, and is optimistic it could have an economic impact.
"When you're here, you visit our grocery stores, gas stations as well," Blackburn said.
But he says the most important thing is to serve the children of eastern Kentucky.
Officials hope to break ground on the new park in July, and have it ready by the end of the summer. However, Blackburn says they are still in need of financial help.
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