ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Residents in Blair County recently installed a new wheelchair swing at Fairview Park.
The project started over a year ago thanks to Smiles for Miles and multiple community organizations.
This is the first wheelchair swing in Altoona, and this comes on the heels of two new all abilities playgrounds in the city: one at Prospect Park and one at Fairview Park.
Last summer, Penny Brunner from Smiles for Miles finished the all abilities playground at Reservoir Park in Tyrone.
“The best thing to do is to allow children and their families that have special needs to come out to the playgrounds and play, they shouldn’t be in their homes, behind closed doors,” she said.
Her inspiration? Her 8-year-old grandson Miles, who is blind and immobile due to a rare disease, Nonketotic hyperglycemia, or NKH, and watching him swing in a special chair.
“I still every once and a while pull that video just to hear him cooing and laughing and smiling,” Brunner said.
With Mayor Matt Pacifico, Brunner also moved any all abilities playground to Prospect Park.
“It was sitting somewhere abandoned where it wasn’t gonna be used, Brunner said.
“It’s really important to have all abilities playground equipment for children of all needs,”Altoona Mayor Matt Pacifico said.
Brunner said her mission is to make sure that anyone of any abilities could join in the fun.
“I truly believe with all my heart that these children that are called ‘special needs’ bring something to our society that no one else can,” Brunner said.
The project cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Brunner said it couldn’t have been done without Central Blair Recreation and Park Commission and the Altoona chapter of AMBUCS, which is a nonprofit that help people with disabilities.