City of Lufkin builds special playground for special needs kids

Steve Floyd with the City of Lufkin
Steve Floyd with the City of Lufkin
Carolyn Eddins and her autistic son, Jeremy
Carolyn Eddins and her autistic son, Jeremy

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – In the past, Winston Park wasn't known as a place to take your family.

"This park was known for some bad activity, ya know, some drug-related activity and things were going on out here," said Steve Floyd, Public Works Director & Parks and Recreation.

So the Lufkin Parks and Recreation Department decided to change things for the better.  Dilapidated structures were torn down, an old swimming pool was filled-in... they created more green space at Winston Park.

"The park was headed in the right direction so we needed something to kick it off and get it going," said Floyd.

That special project, was a softball field for kids with special needs. After seeing the success of the special needs softball league, the city decided to build this playground right next to the field.  It, too, is designed for kids with disabilities.

Mom Carolyn Eddins brought her son Jeremy to try out the slide.

"The first time I saw Jeremy playing' it just made me so happy," said Carolyn Eddins, Mother of Jeremy who has Autism.

The park has easily accessible handrails, wide steps and ramps making the playground perfectly designed for every type of kid.

Some basic modifications are now creating first-time opportunities for many families.

"There are relatively few of these in the state that the kids can actually get up on with a wheel chair and their walker," said Floyd.

It means everything to these moms and dads, having a safe playground. While their kids are having fun, their parents can connect.

"It's a support system for the parents as well. I really think it helps them bond. We all have something in common," said Eddins.

Eddins says the park gives Jeremy and other kids the opportunity to forget about disabilities and focus on their abilities.

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