The City of Irving's AquaStars program allows children with special needs, along with guardians, to safely enjoy monthly access to a premier city swimming facility.
In response to growing community interest and need, the Aquatics Division of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department expanded its programming to provide access for children with special needs to city swim facilities. City leaders see the new AquaStars program as a way to enhance the recreational opportunities of children in the community with special needs.
The program is custom-designed to children with special needs, ages 18 and younger. AquaStars participants must be accompanied by an adult or guardian. On a monthly basis, AquaStars provides special needs children with an opportunity to sidestep crowds and experience the excitement of play in an indoor, 20-yard, temperature-controlled lap pool. Best of all, participants will only pay the standard admission rate of $1 per visit.
The safety of AquaStars guests is paramount to program organizers. The Heritage Aquatic Center’s pool boasts features including an accessible ramp, accessible chair lift and water chair, making it an ideal location to pilot the AquaStars program. The city will provide the appropriate lifeguard and staffing ratios as well as access to waterproof wheelchairs.
The new program will continue making waves throughout the year when the Parks and Recreation Department rolls out AquaStars hours at other select city aquatic centers in the summer of 2016. Future plans for the AquaStars program also may include the addition of aquatics classes for children with special needs.
The rollout of the AquaStars program adds to the city’s already existing opportunities for special needs children, such as the availability of waterproof wheelchairs at West Irving Aquatic Center (3701 Conflans Road) and the Accessible Playground and Miracle League Field in Cotton Creek Park on Story Road. Irving’s Accessible Playground and Miracle League Field is home to the Disabled Softball League and features access ramps, wider play decks and other design features to accommodate mobility impaired children. Last year, the Accessible Playground and Miracle League Field hosted numerous games and welcomed approximately 2,000 players, family and volunteers. City leaders anticipate this program will generate similar interest with aquatics programming for special needs youth.
The City of Irving is committed to offering innovative family fun and activities that are available for all of its residents. For more information about AquaStars, call (972) 721-7311 or visit the Heritage Aquatic Center during normal business hours.