Julia Grassmick is like any other seven-year-old: she loves to play on the playground. But her wheels slow her down.
“Just like any other kid her age she loves to get outside and play with her friends and hit up the playground, but you know, at this point she’s not really able to,” said Melissa Grassmick, Julia’s mother and accessible playground proponent.
Julia is in a wheelchair and has a hard time rolling through the woodchips or loose rocks at playgrounds. The equipment also isn’t completely accessible at many playgrounds, so that combination creates multiple roadblocks for the little girl who just wants to play with her friends.
That’s where the idea for Julia’s Junction, an accessible playground for children of all abilities, was born.
Grassmick has taken the initiative on herself and is working alongside the city of West Kelowna to make her idea a reality to improve her daughter’s life as well as other kids that are similar to Julia.
“A lot of people, when they picture an accessible playground, might picture a lot of different ramps and features,” said Grassmick.
“Ours won’t have that. Ours is gonna be a lot of ground base play equipment. Ramps can be quite costly to install as well as I don’t think you get the most out of them.”
Julia’s Junction Will be built at the Westbank Towne Centre Park right next to the Kids Care Spray Park, and if everything goes according to schedule, the playground will be completed by next summer.
“This site was selected due to the proximity of the accessible washroom, paved parking, paved paths and it’s very centrally located so everyone can come,” said Stacey Harding, parks and fleet operations manager at the City of West Kelowna.
Now they just need to reach their fundraising goal of $750,000 to build the project that will help kids like Julia have fun on the playground.
“I am just super excited that I get to play with my friends on a more accessible playground than at school,” said Julia.
For more information about the project visit www.juliasjunction.ca