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Students propose ADA accessible playground

The students at Trautmann Middle School presented their proposal to city council in order to make a playground accessible to children with physical disabilities.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 9:58 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Playgrounds offer an opportunity for many kids to let loose and enjoy the outdoors, but often there are limitations for children with physical disabilities because of the lack of ADA accessible equipment at parks.

Now, a group of students is pushing for everyone to have a turn on the swing set.

Whether you prefer a slide or swing set, the Trautmann Middle School Robotics Team wants to make sure every child can enjoy a playground.

“In today’s society, inclusivity is not only legal, but our moral responsibility," said Kira Ramon-Lozano, Trautmann student.

Last year, the robotics team created a hypothetical proposal that touched on the need to build an ADA playground in Laredo.

An ADA playground offers a range of play experiences to children with physical disabilities, like wheelchair-accessible swings.

This year, the middle school students have set out to make that proposal a reality.

According to the students' research it would cost at least $20,000 to purchase and install four accessible ramps, two accessible swings, one merry-go-round, and accessible monkey bars.

The first thing they did was reach out to their peers and ask for donations.

“They are learning about real world situations,” said Leticia Menchaca, Principal of Trautmann Middle School. “They did it on their own with the guidance of their teacher.”

The school came together and raised over $3,000 to help support the team’s idea, but it didn’t stop there. The students called up Council member Marte Martinez for support.

“He decided to at least to match the funds and have them present to City Council, so everyone could witness that," said Menchaca.

Last week, the students presented their ADA playground proposal to all of Council.

“According to the most recent census bureau, about 300,00 people live in Laredo about 10% are disabled,” said Ramon-Lozano. “Do you think one accessible swing is enough for 30,000 Laredoans. It is not fair that able citizens get to enjoy parks and physically disabled cannot.”

The students asked for the Laredo Council to accept the money they had raised as a donation, and to take on and build the playground at North Central Park.

The students also asked each Council member to pledge funds toward the project.

“I’ll take it up a notch," said Councilman Vidal Rodriguez during the meeting. "It is a great project, so I will donate $10,000 out of my district’s fund because I believe in the project.”

Close to $40,000 were promised after seven Laredo Council Members contributed funds to make this park a reality.

Council member Martinez said the city will now start with developing a project plan, site, and design.

Martinez said The City will also be looking into grant sources for additional funding.

He adds private businesses are also invited to contribute to this project.

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