“Smiles in the Playground” — such a simple phrase that says so much. It also happens to be the name of the accessible, inclusive and state-of-the-art playground that just opened on the Aston Township Community Center grounds. It was a big investment for Energy Transfer — $306,466.47, to be exact — but we think it was worth every penny, and hopefully the Aston community does, too. 

It’s a project that’s been 12 years in the making. One day, Aston resident Kit Spayd and her mother, Aston Township Commissioner Carol Graham, met a woman with a handicapped child who wanted to play on the playground but couldn’t because she was in a wheelchair. Meeting this woman broke their hearts. And as the mother of an autistic daughter, Spayd felt especially strongly about the importance of having playground equipment available for kids with special needs. 

Since that time, Graham and Spayd have worked with members of the community and the Aston Parks and Recreation Board to provide an accessible playground for children ages 1-12. The goal was to inspire children of the community to step outside their comfort zones and overcome any obstacles in their way. Smiles in the Playground houses innovative equipment by KOMPAN, including a wheelchair-accessible carousel, an explorer dome and a double tower, which help to train for cross-coordination, balance and spatial awareness.

On Dec. 16, 2019, Aston Township officials and representatives from Energy Transfer welcomed children and their families to the playground’s ribbon-cutting. A sea of children from Penn-Delco School District were poised for play, and they excitedly charged the playground equipment the moment the ribbon hit the ground. Kids of all ages and abilities played happily. There was joy, laughter and most importantly smiles. Smiles in the Playground sums it up perfectly.

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