Tyrone OKs funds for ‘sensory’ panels at park

Tyrone Borough Council recently approved spending $2,400 for two “sensory” panels to be installed near the playground in Reservoir Park to accommodate children with certain disabilities.

“It’s a beautiful idea,” said Mayor Bill Latchford.

Penny Brunner, founder of Smiles for Miles, a local charitable foundation dedicated to raising awareness of rare pediatric genetic diseases and cortical visual blindness, proposed the addition.

The money will come from a $25,000 fund created by the estate of Adleen Gillam for “improvement, maintenance and repairs for Reservoir Park and Christmas lights” — a fund council hadn’t tapped previously, according to Interim Borough Manager Kim Gurekovich and Latchford.

The sensory panels, which includes the Braille alphabet in relief and a Braille clock in relief, with embossed elements, can help calm kids for whom the equipment is designed, according to Latchford, who has a nephew with autism.

His nephew appreciates the kind of tactile stimulation such equipment provides, Latchford said.

The panels will be a good start for creating a full sensory playground in that section of the park, near equipment used by the youngest children, according to Latchford.

It should have begun long ago, another borough official said.

Brunner is also trying to raise money for two special swings for the park, according to Gurekovich.

The swings, which cost $700 each, have high backs and full front harnesses and can accommodate children with uncontrollable body movements, according to Gurekovich.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.