BROKEN BOW—An all-inclusive playground is the hope of many Custer County residents and that dream is on its way to becoming a reality. Roger and Carlene Albin joined the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 20 during the monthly Third Thursday events in the city square.
The Albin’s granddaughter Bethany has Angelman’s Syndrome and uses a walker. Roger and Carlene said she [Bethany] has been the inspiration for this new playground.
“This is our inspiration, Bethany. She has Angelman’s and so she has a disability there. And she uses a walker and our daughter (whose daughter is Bethany) is in Holdrege and they have the all-inclusive playground there already, so we wanted her to be able to come up to Broken Bow and have fun,” Roger Albin said.
The Albin’s children and grandchildren joined the family in the bandstand on Thursday evening as they cut the ribbon and joined the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce. A burger bash fundraiser held on Thursday helped to kick off fundraising efforts for the new playground.
Carlene is a member of the Park Board and ever since the Indian Hills playground was removed during the housing development construction a few years ago, Carlene and Roger have dreamed of putting in a new playground.
That dream has been fueled with the desire to not only install a playground, but to create an all-inclusive playground with easy access for children with disabilities.
In a February City Council meeting, Carlene moved her previous monetary donation from the city to the Custer County Foundation so that the funds can begin to grow over time. She told the council that nearly 150 kids in Custer County have some sort of special need and that a playground of this type does not currently exist in the area.
“What it means is that everybody can go, wheelchairs are not a stopping point, the ground will be hard so that they can go on it. Children with walkers will be accessible to the playground area, as well as on the equipment,” Carlene Albin said.
Carlene added that the equipment would also include clips for wheelchairs and walkers, special swings, sensory boards, and music areas.
The Albins told KCNI/KBBN during the ribbon cutting that the playground will be for the entire community. While the playground equipment may be tailored toward children with special needs, the Albins want everyone in Custer County, adults included, to enjoy the playground. The vision for the Indian Hills Park also includes a picnic area, bathrooms, and more.
As the project continues to move forward, the Albins appreciate the help with raising funds and will continue working with the city and the chamber. They appreciate the support as they spearhead the Indian Hills playground campaign and are hopeful to continue fundraising and begin construction as soon as possible.
“I just wanted to stress that it’s for the community. This isn’t ours, we’re just spearheading it. We’re doing it for the community,” Carlene Albin said.
February 13: Carlene Albin spoke before the city council regarding the Indian Hills playground equipment. Last year, the city council decided to table the purchase of equipment. Albin, also a member of the Park Board, had previously donated $15,000 to the city for use of the playground. The council approved moving that money to the Custer County Foundation so that money can be fundraised for all-inclusive/accessible playground equipment.
“The money has been sitting in that account for over two years now and hasn’t gotten any bigger. So I would like to move it to someplace where some interest can be earned on it if nothing else and we can use that money, besides fundraising as well, on this project,” Albin said.
Albin said her dream is to see equipment that can be used by all kids as she said there are 142 students in the area with special needs. She believes it would be an asset to the community including wheel-chair friendly equipment as well as special sensory panels. Her vision is a $300,000 park in which the money would be raised through fundraising.