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Hustonville church partners with Kendyl and Friends to bring special needs playground to new park

WCUMC press release

HUSTONVILLE — The Westside Community United Methodist Church’s commitment to building a destination public park on the U.S. 127 corridor in the Hustonville/Moreland area is well underway.

Earlier in the year, the Westside Methodist (WCUMC) congregation decided to build a local park, Westside Community Park, to meet the needs of the community’s residents and families for recreation, outdoor play, fitness and social connection. Groundbreaking for Phase One of the six-phase project, the installation of an 8,500 square foot playground, was held on May 10 and the park opened to the public on May 18.

Donations from church members, AT&T, the Li’l Cherubs Organization and a community 5K race helped fund Phase One.

And now it’s on to Phase Two.

On Tuesday, June 18, WCUMC announced its partnership with the Kendyl and Friends Foundation to bring the Phase Two inclusive playground that much closer to becoming a reality.

“We at Kendyl and Friends Foundation are pleased and proud to announce our partnership with Westside Community Church,” Crimson Claycomb, the founder and executive director of Kendyl and Friends Foundation said. “Our common goal is to bring an inclusive playground to Hustonville so that the special needs community in the area will have a place to play and enjoy life. Our mission at the Foundation is to bring these playgrounds to every community and we are proud of the community of Hustonville and the Westside Community United Methodist Church for making this a priority. We look forward to this partnership, the work we will be doing together, and the great playground that is going to be built as a result.”

The non-profit foundation built its first special needs playground at the Anderson Dean Community Park in Harrodsburg in 2017. Since that time it has built playgrounds in Burgin, Liberty, Georgetown and Jessamine County. The Hustonville campus, along with ones in Campbellsville and Lancaster, will be the newest additions in 2019.

Faron Owen, the senior pastor at WCUMC, highlighted what this partnership means to the Westside Community Park.

“Last year, our congregation began to dream of working cooperatively with our community to build a public park on our land that will benefit everyone, including our neighbors with special needs. We knew we needed input and guidance from the families this park would serve and it was a local mom who connected us with the Kendyl and Friends Foundation. We are so excited about this partnership,” Owen said. “The foundation brings an expertise, passion and network of support to the project that makes possible something even greater than we ever imagined. Their involvement is one more piece in the puzzle to truly make this a collaborative community project and we are proud that the Westside Community Park will host another campus of Kendyl and Friends inclusive playgrounds.”

The Westside Community Park will immediately benefit the 1,000 kids from 569 families in the Hustonville zip code (40437), but it is designed to serve the region of Lincoln, Boyle and Casey counties. In the Lincoln County School district alone, there are 203 students with identified special needs that substantially limit major life activities. This inclusive playground and the accessible restrooms in the pavilion are being built to serve them. There will be a wheelchair accessible play structure, merry-go-round and swing. Additionally, the special needs playground will have six different inclusive and adaptive swings, a buddy rocker, communication boards and wheelchair friendly rubberized surfacing.

Breah Sebastian, a mother with a special needs daughter in Hustonville, recently expressed her great joy about the park.

“I am over the moon excited about this project as this will be life changing for our family,” she said. “Morgan has Emanuel Syndrome, a genetic disorder which causes global medical issues. She can only withstand short spurts of activity before she tires out. To have an inclusive playground within two miles of our home means we will be able to frequently visit with minimal effort. Morgan loves everyone and having this playground will allow her to interact with her peers regardless of their disabilities. Not only will this be a huge blessing to my family, but to our entire community! We can enjoy it together while encouraging exercise and healthier lifestyles.”

The Westside Community Park, which will eventually include a sand volleyball court, a full size basketball court, a half-mile paved walking trail, a ninja fitness course, U8 Soccer fields and more, is open to the public from dawn until dusk, seven days a week.

For more information, go to www.thewestsidecommunitypark.org or contact Faron Owen at (859) 333-3902. To support the park financially go to https://www.gofundme.com/the-westside-community-park.