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Dickinson mom works to bring ‘Friendship Park’ to kids of all abilities

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 2:05 PM CDT
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DICKINSON, N.D. - The world has come a long way in accepting people who are different or who have disabilities.

But that journey isn’t complete; there is still work to be done.

Case in point: in Dickinson, there’s no playground accessible to kids in wheelchairs.

But now the good news: that’s about to change.

Eight-year-old Beckett Carlson loves dinosaurs, dogs, music and swinging.

“Swinging is probably one of Beckett’s favorite activities,” said his mom, Sarah Carlson.

That love of swinging inspired his mom’s dream of building a park for kids like Beckett. Beckett has cerebral palsy; he was born prematurely and has battled medical issues his entire life.

“He has endured about 40 surgeries. He’s very resilient. And one of the most joyful kids I know,” said Sarah.

She has spent the past three years building support and raising money for what she calls “Friendship Park.”

“We’re just really trying to think about how all kids can come together and play in the same environment. And that’s why it’s called Friendship Park because it’s not disability Park. Certainly, we’re going to meet that need but it’s really about building friendships,” she explained.

Friendship Park will be built on seven acres of land just off the interstate in Dickinson.

“It’s such a perfect space because it’s got plenty of land to create the playground and parking. Our dream is that we will break ground in the first to the spring of 2022,” Sarah said.

And while they build a new accessible playground, they also hope to build connections and show kids and their parents we’re more alike than we might think.

You can learn more about Friendship Park, including how to donate to the fundraising efforts on their Facebook page. Just search “Friendship Park Dickinson” on Facebook.

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