By Mrs Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)November 10, 2011
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Working on a short deadline, the depot's Directorate of Community and Family Activities developed a plan for a playground just in time to receive funding from Installation Management Command.
"Southeast Region headquarters for IMCOM asked which installations did not have a handicapped playground," said Jim Webb, DCFA director. "It didn't cost us anything and we got something wonderful."
Webb credits DCFA employees Kishawn Banks, Brandy Bamberg and Julia Thompson with gathering the information, cost and design in the time allotted.
The brightly colored structure, which sits near White Oak Meeting Center, was completed in early October and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowing individuals in wheelchairs access to every area of the structure and most of the activities.
"It's a developmental playground, also," said Webb, discussing the many interactive panels located throughout the play structure.
The interactive segments, which make noise in response to input from the children, are completely kid-powered. Users first have to wind each panel in order to operate them.
"The playground has no utility requirements," said Tim Arrington, a civil engineer for the depot's Directorate of Public Works.
The wide walkways required for the playground to be ADA-compliant, give children more room than is found in a typical playground, allowing children of all ages and sizes to interact.
"We normally have to separate the different age groups, but this playground allows us to go across the barrier of ages," said Webb.
Arrington said the new facility, which cost $123,773, was built in an environmentally friendly way, using biodegradable wood chips for the ground covering and very little concrete, so the playground, which is in a wetland area, can drain properly.
"The structure pretty much has a lifetime warranty, so it won't cost the depot much in maintenance," said Arrington.
A fence is planned for the playground, though its placement will be more for safety purposes -- to keep small children from going near the lake -- than security.