Saluda Shoals Park Break Ground for Universally Inclusive Playground – Holiday Lights Fundraiser 11/29

Saluda Shoals Park Breaks Ground for Universally Inclusive Playground

Holiday Lights on the River Admission on 11/29/2018 to Support Playground Project

Columbia, Irmo, and Lexington, SC – Saluda Shoals Park will host a groundbreaking celebration on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 4 p.m. at the site of its future universally inclusive playground, located at the east end of the Park at 6071 St. Andrews Road. This unique play space will be a sensory-rich, developmentally appropriate, fun playground where children and adults of all abilities can play together.

As a special fundraising event, proceeds from the Holiday Lights on the River admission that evening will support the project. The light show will open at 6 p.m.

“Playgrounds are tools on which children learn to negotiate, communicate, and trust themselves and others,” said Dolly Patton, director of the Saluda Shoals Foundation, the nonprofit entity responsible for raising the funds to build the playground. “Saluda Shoals Park’s playground will foster inclusion, friendship, and understanding among children and adults of all abilities using nature-based play elements. It will become a gathering space for our community, offering opportunities for special events, outreach programs and educational experiences.”

Saluda Shoals Park’s playground was inspired by Leo Bugenske, who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and requires 24/7 skilled care. Leo’s family was seeking a way to address a need for Leo and other children and adults with disabilities by providing an interactive and accessible playground.

This new two-acre playground will provide an opportunity to get everyone moving, thinking, and exploring the outdoors. Once it is complete, staff members will provide inclusive programs and monthly play dates to promote acceptance among children and adults with and without disabilities.

The playground will feature:
• Treehouse Village – roller slide and roller table, balance beams, and spinning elements.
• Hillside Slope – various slides and a tunnel to an open field for unstructured play.
• Swing Area – high back, bucket and belt swings as well as a platform swing.
• Sound Garden – musical instruments and nature sound panels.
• Nature Play Area – a “riverboat” glider and imaginative sculptures.
• Restroom building designed to address the needs of people with disabilities. Includes wheelchair turnaround width and an automated adult changing table.
• Additional features including misting stations and benches.

The Saluda Shoals Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which serves to support and protect Saluda Shoals Park through financial support, fostering partnerships, supporting programs and creating community awareness of the park’s exceptional outdoor recreational activities, environmental education, and cultural opportunities.

For more information about the Saluda Shoals Foundation, contact Dolly Patton at or 803-213-2035.


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