The wait is over. The City of West Columbia’s Carraway Park at the Riverwalk, at 212 Hudson Street, opened Nov. 4. It’s totally free and the early reviews for the all-inclusive park are excellent.
Sherry Wright teaches four-year-olds with special needs at Riverbank Elementary School. She, and her students, were at the opening of the park Monday.
“I think the park is a wonderful addition,” said Wright. “The city really put a lot of thought into the types of equipment they installed. The students really enjoyed exploring the park.”
Wright is not the only one who loves the park. Eileen Gomez Aquino is a seventh-grader at Northside Middle School. “I like the park and I think my little sisters will like it, too when they get to go,” said Eileen.
Carrie Freeman, an eighth-grader at Northside said: “I had fun at the park. I liked the swings. I want to go back.” Eileen and Carrie’s teacher is a fan, too.
“The kids in my class absolutely loved it. They had a blast” said Lana Ward, special education teacher at Northside middle School. She was part of the team that planned the park and her students attended the park ribbon-cutting on Monday. “The class did not want to leave.”
Ward also said the equipment was easily accessible for all children, regardless of mobility or ability.
Akeen Kerns-Benjamin, who is a shadow for Northside student Jacarri Sanders, said: “I thought the park was great. I like that it brings together all the kids from different backgrounds. I look forward to bringing my children here.”
West Columbia Mayor-Elect Tem Miles has a daughter, Emma, with cerebral palsy. She is in a wheelchair. Emma had a great time playing in the park Monday, with her sisters Catherine and Charlotte.
“This is something that has been needed in West Columbia for a long time,” he said. In 2017, Carraway Park was small and was surrounded by two vacant lots. Now, Miles said, it is a place where parents of children with special needs don’t have to make a decision on which child to play with.
“We came in and did the right thing,” said Miles. “I’m very proud of this park.”
In addition to being a place to play for all kids, Miles said the large new parking lot will also serve visitors coming to Riverwalk.
“We’re very happy to offer more parking,” said Miles. “That is an added benefit to an already wonderful project.”