Kennesaw receives Hometown Grant for Swift-Cantrell Park wheelchair swing

One-year-old Eric Barrera enjoyed sliding onto the new turf ground covering at Kennesaw inclusive playground.One-year-old Eric Barrera enjoyed sliding onto the new turf ground covering. (photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

By Rebecca Gaunt

An exciting addition is coming to the inclusive playground at Swift-Cantrell Park in Kennesaw.

The T-Mobile Hometown Grant Program awarded the city $46,420 to fund a wheelchair swing.

The swing is the final touch on a facility that includes wheelchair-accessible ramps, an 8-person wheelchair Sway Fun glider, sensory stations, a shade canopy, a navigable turf surface, and convenient bathroom facilities.

Parks Director Steve Roberts said the next step is for the city to solicit bids for an installer, which he expects to take about a month. He hopes to see the swing installed in the first quarter of 2022.

The $450,000 inclusive playground opened in January 2020, paid for by 2016 SPLOST funds and a $100,000 donation from the Swift-Cantrell Park Foundation. The project added 5,000 square feet of play space to a previously existing 13,500-square-foot playground.

Swift-Cantrell Park also offers picnic pavilions, asphalt walking trails, a splash pad, dog park, fitness station, and a 40,000-square-foot lighted skatepark on its 42 acres.

According to the T-Mobile website, the goal of the Hometown Grant Program is to fund up to 100 small towns a year (defined as populations under 50,000 people) as much as $50,000 each for projects that create or improve community spaces. T-Mobile intends to spend $25 million on grants over the next five years. Elected leaders, town staff, and nonprofits are eligible to apply.

Nonprofit organizations Main Street America and Smart Growth America have partnered with T-Mobile as consultants.

“Everybody from parks and rec and Swift Cantrell Foundation, ya’ll are incredible. I know you invested lot of time over the last couple of years to build the incredible inclusive park that we have now,” Mayor Derek Easterling said during Monday’s City Council meeting.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, City of Kennesaw staff members deemed essential will receive a one-time extra payment for their service during the COVID-19 health ebinge Netflix and travel.

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