City of Tampa improves parks to benefit children with autism

City officials held a community meeting for input

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa city officials are looking to improve three of its parks to make it more friendly for children with autism.

City staff held a community meeting on Tuesday night to get input from parents.

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Staff plans to use grant money to improve three parks including: Al Lopez Park, New Tampa Community Park and Takomah Trail Park.

The new playground equipment will be installed adjacent to the existing playground equipment. It will be for ages 3 to 11.

Ashely Cantin has a daughter with cerebral palsy. She is non-verbal and unable to play with the current playground equipment.

"It makes it very difficult and she just has to sit there and watch other kids play," said Ashley Cantin.

Cantin attended the meeting to make sure children in wheelchairs were included in the plans.

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City staff is using a $35,000 grant for the improvements. The total project is estimated at $90,000. The city will cover the remaining costs.

"I am excited for what the city is doing, recognizing the need for inclusiveness within our parks, our communities, our kids, our families and just making everybody feel welcome," said Julie Reyes, parent.

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