Local Organization Seeks Improved Playground Experience


March 15, 2019

Not everyone can experience the enjoyment of swings or slides in the park in the same way other children do. Some have specific challenges that make the experience something other children do.

That is an obstacle SOAR Pediatric Therapy wants to help the City of Sidney address.

Madison (Madi) Malzahn, a 2013 graduate of Sidney High School, addressed the Sidney City Council Tuesday with a proposal to help the city update playground equipment in city parks. Malzahn, a pediatric physical therapy assistant at SOAR Pediatric Physical Therapy, proposed seeking funding “for improvements to the playground experiences for all citizens of Sidney,” according to her proposal. SOAR Pediatric Physical Therapy works with youth from birth to 21 years of age. Malzahn proposes fundraising and grant-writing to pay for significant improvements at the parks.

Her proposal says improvements could include wheelchair accessibility, ADA swing seats, playground resurfacing and adding free-standing equipment that is inclusive to everyone.

Council members questioned if she was seeking City assistance for funding or placement of equipment. She said she does not need City funding at this time. Malzahn and others in the project will work on fundraising and grant-writing to fund the projects.

In her proposal, she notes that the current layout of the play equipment near the pond has room for more sensory items. Her proposal notes the playground has a swing set with four toddler swings, suggesting one of the toddler swings be replaced with an ADA swing with a full back and harness mechanism. She also suggests meeting with playground equipment distributors to design a “play area review” toward designing a new surface and equipment layout.

She said the cost of updating playground equipment is contingent on what company they contract with.

City Attorney J. Leef said grants frequently need the City’s approval to place equipment before a grant will be awarded.

The council approved the proposal with a 5-0 vote.


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