A $35,000 donation by the White Rock Kiwanis Club will make it possible for the City to build a new playground at Flagpole Hill that can be used by both handicapped and able-bodied children.

Included among the special features will be the use of Fibar for the playground’s surface. Fibar is a bark-chip mixture (typically made with pine in this area) that is more malleable and provides a softer surface than sand and other traditional materials.

The playground equipment also is designed to allow, for example, a child who uses a wheelchair to more easily move from the chair to a ride of adjacent height.

This playground, like a similar one in Oak Cliff, will exceed minimum standards set for public places by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

That’s why the Kiwanis Club donation was crucial, says Steve Park, an assistant director for the City Park Department. A typical playground runs about $50,000; one designed such as the Flagpole Hill site costs about $80,000. To build these special playgrounds, the City needs private sponsors.

Jeanine Wehby, a Kiwanis committee chair, says the club chose to support the playground because it can be enjoyed by everyone in our area.

“More people will have use of this,” Wehby says. “All children could use this, whether poor or rich or whatever.”

The Kiwanis Club support isn’t just financial. Wehby is one of the club members who have worked on the project through three years of planning and obtaining the required approvals from state agencies.

Their goals should be realized in grand fashion when the playground opens in a few months. Biff Harris, a project manager with the City Park Department, says “it’s a beautiful site” that has been put to good use by the design work of landscape architect Caye Cook.

Also, the playground’s special features ensure that everyone will be able to enjoy the new addition to this popular recreational site.

“People with handicaps like to be in the mainstream,” says Harris. “They don’t want to be isolated from the rest of the public.”