Kendyl and Friends Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that started out in Harrodsburg, has received conditional use permit approval to build an all-inclusive playground in Boyle County for children and adults with special needs.
The decision was unanimous at a meeting of the Danville-Boyle County Board of Directors on September 21, following a public hearing in which no one objected to the development. The motion for approval was revised to clarify that the building would not exceed 50 feet in height, rather than two stories.
The property is agricultural zoned and is approximately 4.8 acres located with frontage to the highway. 33, otherwise known as Shakertown Road, a state-maintained highway. The address listed is 0 Shakertown Road and the owner is Josh Pingleton.
The applicant, Kendyl and Friends Foundation, Inc., applied for a conditional use permit instead of filing an application to rezone the property as a commercial to simplify the process and because community services are considered institutional uses. acceptable under the agricultural zoning classification, according to a staff report. Planning and Zoning Director Steve Hunter said job training for people with physical or mental disabilities can fall under the category of community services.
Some of the plans for the property include indoor space for educational programs to teach life skills and other information, indoor play area, indoor gym and possibly indoor-outdoor therapeutic pool, playground outdoor and an outdoor baseball field accessible to people with disabilities.
Before the board opened to the public – only a handful of community members were in attendance – the Founder and Executive Director of Kendyl and Friends Foundation, Inc. Crimson Claycomb explained how the organization got started and his vision of the property and the future. organisation.
It started with the story of her daughter, Kendyl, who was born without a disability but had meningitis when she was 3 weeks old. Claycomb said doctors said Kendyl had a 2% chance of living and if she survived she would be “nothing more than a vegetable.” Now Kendyl is almost 11 years old. Claycomb said she wanted to raise her like any child, even though she is in a wheelchair, cannot speak, has seven brain tumors and is partially blind in both eyes.
“She’s super happy, super fun, and we wouldn’t change her for the world,” Claycomb said.
Kendyl has not been in a special education program; she goes to school with her peers and friends and goes on school trips.
“When Kendyl was in kindergarten, we went on a field trip, and I took her out, and I play with her, I pack her up and down in the playground, and I tripped and I fell with her, and it freaked me out, “Claycomb said.” I was so nervous. I thought I was going to hurt my baby.
Claycomb was upset and told Kendyl that she couldn’t lead her on the playing field anymore. Kendyl didn’t understand and thought she had done something wrong. She hadn’t realized that Claycomb wasn’t trying to punish her or take away some playtime.
So, Claycomb and a group of friends took a walk on the trail at Anderson Dean Community Park in Harrodsburg, and they explained how they were to build a playground where Kendyl and people like her could play. The kids drew him a playground and Claycomb said it was amazing to watch.
This began Claycomb’s journey to build an all-inclusive playground. She contacted playground companies, and five months and 22 days later, she and a group had raised around $ 300,000 to build what is now the Kendyl and Friends Playground at Anderson Dean Community Park. She quickly learned that many people did not have opportunities like the playground.
“It’s just something that you don’t understand the need for until you do it and see how many people are coming in to use it,” Claycomb said.
In 2017, Kendyl and Friends was approved as a non-profit organization. It operates on donations and offers its services free of charge to its participants.
One of the goals of Kendyl and Friends is to create care, education and recreation facilities for people like Kendyl who may not be potty trained or qualified for care programs. for adults, Claycomb said.
“Our goal for Kendyl and Friends has always been to eventually have some sort of facility designed and modified for people like my daughter,” she said.
At this time, there is not yet a Kendyl and Friends location with water facilities or indoor facilities. Not having indoor space can be problematic for people like Kendyl who find it difficult to control their body temperature and can react negatively to temperature extremes, and few aquatic facilities have filtration systems suitable for people who are not. clean and who must wear diapers.
Claycomb said the closest aquatic facility she can take Kendyl to is at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and it’s over two hours away, which is why she said more localized and accommodating water recreation facilities are important.
Since the development of the organization relies entirely on funding, Claycomb said development will take place step by step on the Shakertown Road property. For example, it may start with the baseball field, then gradually expand as funding allows, eventually to include the building with indoor facilities. The number of people coming and going from the location also depends on what is available, when the services are running and whether they are funded. The goal is to be a facility open seven days a week with educational programs of around eight hours a day and games on Saturdays, and educational programs would be run by registration.
One of the conditions of the development is that the property is limited to an access point along the highway. 33, and the location and layout would be coordinated with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Kendal Wise, an engineer at Vantage Engineering, said that before Kendyl and her friends reviewed the property, a developer was looking to install a Dollar General location on the property and that there had been preliminary conversations with the cabinet of Kentucky transportation about the street entrance. and this was decided as the safest option, and the commercial retail store would have meant a much higher volume of traffic than the development of Kendyl and Friends.
Claycomb said the organization has looked at several properties and kept coming back to this one because of its centralized location in the state, and because even though people come to the Kendyl and Friends playgrounds from many counties , Boyle County residents make up a large portion, about 34%. She said the development is also a tourism opportunity – it will attract people from many areas.
After the decision to approve, board chairman George Coomer said he believed the development of Kendyl and Friends would be great for the community and set it apart.
Board member Lonnie McGuire said: “I want to stand up and applaud.”