Boy’s unique wish just the start of additions at Hamilton parks

One Hamilton boy’s birthday wish is just the start of changes coming to several of the city’s parks.

A large crowd turned out last Saturday to watch Grayson Combs celebrate his birthday wish at Millikin Woods Park — wheelchair accessible playground equipment that enables all children to have fun.

Steve Timmer, Hamilton Parks Conservancy’s executive director, called the event “wonderful.”

“Grayson gave a selfless gift,” Timmer said.

The Hamilton Parks Conservancy is planning to invest $30,000 this year for more Americans With Disabilities Act compliant amenities in the city’s parks.

“This is what we’ve been moving toward over the past three years,” he said.

Combs and his family cut the ribbon last weekend to open the inclusion wheel, which is a merry-go-round that can spin disabled children in wheelchairs and able-bodied children at the same time.

Timmer said the new amenity cost about $20,000.

Grayson’s family worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to make this wish come true.

“Every wish is special, but this is extra special because it’s a selfless wish because it’s giving back to the community,” said Korie Bednarczuk of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Playground Equipment Services constructed the inclusive wheel at the park’s playground. It’s a newer amenity that just started to be sold this year, according to Eric Schmidt of the company.

“It allows special needs and other children to play on it together,” Schmidt said, adding that the equipment will last 20 or more years.

Grayson, who turned 10 on April 2, was diagnosed with a rare condition at 5 months old called Lissencephaly, a birth defect that causes brain abnormalities, severe developmental delays and seizures, according to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When diagnosed, he was given 2-to-5 years to live and has spent his life in a wheelchair, according to his mother, Carol Combs.

“Today is just a great way for Grayson to be able to give back to the community and start building that inclusiveness that we all hope,” said Carol Combs. “It will give children of all abilities the opportunity to come and grow and play and just be a part of the community and learn about each other and discover like any other kid.”

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