WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Pasco County is building a universally inclusive playground specifically designed for kids with special needs.
"For every 1000 children there are 85 kids who have special needs of some type and we want to make sure they can participate just like any other child can," said Mike Moore, Pasco County Commissioner who spearheaded the project.
The school district says there are 16,000 students with special needs in the county.
The nearest accessible special needs playground for those kids is 25 miles away.
Gabriella Powers' son is living with autism. She's excited about the new playground being so close to her Wesley Chapel home.
"Whether it's a child with a physical disability or a social-emotional disability that barrier is now gone," said Powers.
The new playground is a public-private partnership. LNR Homes, the Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel and Advent Health Wesley Chapel donated a combined $125,000 for the playground.
The county is contributing just over $200,000.
The Rotary Club will also maintain a butterfly garden being put in next to the playground.
The inclusive playground will be built next to the existing playground at Wesley Chapel District Park.
Moore says the playground, which is the first of its kind in Pasco County, should be finished within a year.
"We want to make sure everyone can be on the field and play together. Nobody should be on the sidelines," said Moore.