MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) -Savannah’s Playground, the largest enabling playground in the Southeast, will officially open on Labor Day weekend. On Saturday, September 3 at 10:00 a.m. Savannah Thompson will welcome the public to the playground named in her honor.
Savannah’s Playground, the $3M, multi-acre playground that has been under construction and in the news since August 2015, was designed to enable all children to enjoy life and the basic joys of childhood. It features ADA-approved playground equipment and structures designed to provide youngsters of all abilities the opportunity for social interaction. It is not limited, however, to only those with disabilities. “This is a playground for all children, said Mayor John Rhodes, “It is a place where children can be children and just have fun. It was built with the vision of creating a barrier-fee, bias-free world.” While Mayor John Rhodes and the City of Myrtle Beach may have been a driving force in the playground’s creation, it was Savannah Thompson who provided the inspiration.
Savannah Thompson, the 21 year-old daughter of Lance and Marjorie Thompson, was born with Williams Syndrome, a condition that presents academia challenges and developmental delays. Her condition was further complicated when, as the result of surgery, she suffered significant brain trauma. Although doctors gave little hope, Savannah defied the odds and fought her way back.
That fighting instinct has been the bright star in her personality. Everyone who meets Savannah falls in love with her. Her smile is as bright as the sun. She sings, she dances, she loves sports, and she loves life! “She is an inspiration to our entire community,” said Mayor Rhodes.
While the playground is located in Myrtle Beach, SC the thousands of visitors who vacation along the Grand Strand each year will feel its impact and enjoy its benefits. “One child in six is born with a developmental disability that may include physical or learning impairments. There could be no greater feeling for these parents than to know that while they were enjoying their vacation, there was a playground designed especially for their children to enjoy as well,” Mayor Rhodes said.
“Once the park is open we still have two major phases to add. These include a Splash Pad where children can play in recycled water, and an area where they can fish off a pier. Paddleboats, especially equipped to accommodate a wheelchair, will also be available. “We want ALL children to enjoy the everyday activities that you and I take for granted and that our children and grandchildren enjoy on a daily basis,” he said.
While Savannah’s Playground will open amid a crowd of elected officials, organizations and individuals who have given tirelessly of their time and resources, the real dignitaries on hand will be the children. At last Myrtle Beach, will unveil the playground where all children, regardless of their age, race, economic status and/or ability, can interact with other children in a safe and welcoming environment.