PARA celebrates inclusive playground’s first anniversary

Masons Place

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Jocelyn Claborn

Tuscaloosa’s first-ever all-inclusive playground was the site of a major celebration Thursday, as Mason’s Place at Sokol Park North turned a year old.

The Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority hosted an Eats and Treats social in celebration, and the Hank Poore Foundation donated $10,000 toward Phase 2 of the playground.

The foundation’s namesake, Hank Poore, and other foundation members were on-hand at the event Thursday. It’s a perfect pairing, Poore said, because the foundation’s goal is providing opportunities and experiences for those living with disabilities.

“I’ve grown up with a disability and I know how it feels to be included in the community,” Poore said. “I feel like it’s really important that everyone be included.”

Growing up, Poore and his family said there weren’t many activities Poore could participate in. Hank Poore’s mother, Kathy Poore, said they’re thrilled that Mason’s Place is available and are following the playground’s progress every step of the way.

Phase 1 included play areas featuring unique Tuscaloosa touches, like Denny Chimes and the Bama Theatre. Phase 2, called the Woodland Phase, is planned to mimic the woods in and around Tuscaloosa as well as adding another wheelchair-accessible play area and a pavilion. Construction is set to start next spring.

PARA Director of Development Caroline Lasseter said this is a special place.

“We don’t have a place like it anywhere in our community, it’s free to the public and anyone can come and enjoy some time with friends and family,” Lasseter said. “It makes me smile when I hear about it because it’s something new, it’s something different and I just love it.”

You can learn more about Mason’s Place or donate to construction efforts right here.

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