Inclusive park opens in Goose Creek: ‘It’s just such a huge win for our community’

A brand-new park opened in Goose Creek on Friday with the focus of being “a park built for everyone.”
Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 4:07 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2022 at 9:28 PM EST
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GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCSC) - A brand-new park opened in Goose Creek on Friday with the focus of being “a park built for everyone.”

The $9 million project, Central Creek Park, hopes to be inclusive towards everyone with volleyball and basketball courts, a splash pad, a food truck pavilion and pickleball courts.

Over 26,000 square-feet, ‘Debra’s Playground’ will offer a wide range of accessible activities for people with physical or visual disabilities. The surfacing is all wheelchair accessible, and the equipment is based on sensory items for everyone to enjoy.

Families who include children with disabilities were the first invited to play at the park after this morning’s ribbon cutting. Nicole Valentine, mother to her special needs daughter, says other parks have never really been concerned about including all the different aspects of sensory play before.

“It’s never really kept in mind the heart of all children to be fully inclusive, and even down to having the fence around for those kids who love to run,” Valentine says. “It’s very important and it does so much for parent’s safety concerns to be able to just come here, and you almost get a little bit of relief watching your children play and not be so stressed out.”

The City of Goose Creek hosted a tribute to the donors of the park ahead of the ribbon cutting ceremony. Goose Creek Recreation Director Crystal Reed addressed the city and sponsors after working for months on the development.

“Central Creek Park sets our community apart and creates opportunities to remove barriers, increase self-esteem, develop community culture where everyone benefits from health, fitness and social connections,” Crystal says. “Thousands of children and adults across Berkeley County of all abilities have benefited from our therapeutic recreation program over the past several years; because of you, we just raised the bar with Central Creek Park.”

Parents of children with special needs say that it means the world to them to see their children experience a park they can truly enjoy. Kathy Kackley, parent to Trista Kutceher, travel the U.S. together promoting inclusivity in parks and compared other parks to Central Creek Park.

“There’s something here for everyone; there’s something here everyone can do,” Kackley says. “We like to be inclusive in our play and in our life, and we are very appreciative that Goose Creek has stepped up and has a place for everybody to play together.”

Goose Creek Assistant Recreation Director, Nicole Herrera Murray, explains how the city worked to choose specific pieces of equipment for special needs children to use. After planning and researching for months, she says Friday was a dream come true.

“I’ve been dreaming of this day for a really long time. It’s really amazing to see everyone enjoying and hearing the screams behind us is just everything that I’ve ever wanted,” Murray says.

The public is invited to join in on the fun Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. or Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 47 Old Moncks Corner Rd.