Rigby's Entertainment Complex is hosting a meeting on Sunday, July 30th, to discuss an extension to their water park made specifically for special-needs children and their families.
Leaders are asking for the public's help with ideas and funding. Steve Rigby is the owner and expects the park to be done in the next 30 days.
But now, they're considering adding an extension that Rigby says would make it fun and comfortable for all children and their families, including those with special-needs.
Chaley Clark says her and her family love water parks and are excited for Rigby's to open right here in their own community. Clark says she's touched that Rigby's is interested in adding an area to the park for special-needs children and their families.
“To even know that someone is considering trying to make something like that easier so they do have something to do outside of the house is just really heartwarming and just as a family with or that had a special needs child it just makes us really happy,” Clark said.
For Clark, it hits close to home.
Her sister, Caitlyn Bibb, had mitochondrial myopathy which affected her muscle development and cost her her eyesight and ability to walk. She died in December at just 21-years-old.
Clark says her sister loved water parks but it was frustrating when she could not do things.
“Mentally through it all, she knew everything that was happening around her and she was very aware that she couldn't do some of the things and she wanted to, and she just, it just physically wasn't possible,” Clark explained.
Owner Steve Rigby says they've gotten several questions from people asking if the park will have a special-needs area. He says they want to make it a fun and comfortable place for everyone.
“If we can provide an area that gives them a little sanctuary that's a good thing,” Rigby said outside the park on Monday.
They're hosting a public meeting on Sunday afternoon at 2:00p.m. to hear from families about what would help and what they need and to gauge if there's enough interest to add the extension. The meeting will be at Rigby’s in Houston County.
The extension wouldn't be cheap and is expected to cost more than three million dollars, which is another reason they're having the meeting, to see if there are interested donors and community support.
The new structure would be built specifically for children with sensory issues, children that need assistance going through the splash areas, and it would be wheelchair accessible.
Rigby says they received inspiration from a water park in San Antonio Texas called Morgan's Inspiration Island that bills itself as the “First ultra-accessible splash park.”
He says he's planning to talk to the owner of that park this week about how he did it and what it cost.