The city of Ashland has committed up to $25,000 in support of a new sensory garden in Ashland’s Central Park. The playground will be for children with special needs and disabilities.

We have some personal ties to this one. Daily Independent reporter Carly Carver founded the nonprofit that is behind the sensory garden. The nonprofit is called Ashland Foundation for Children with Disabilities and Carver's work on this long predates her employment at the Daily Independent. All of this points to the fact that we can say we are personal witnesses to the importance to this type of project to families and we believe this is a wise investment by the city over the long haul.

The goal of the sensory garden is to cater to the children of Ashland who have special needs. Mandy Mazzawi of the foundation spoke to the Ashland Board of Commissioners about the proposal.

“In the special needs world, there is a very strong consensus that sensory input can affect children and adults that are not neurotypical,” said Mazzawi. “So the idea of a sensory garden is it gives those a place to come and experience the world in a way that would sooth them.”

The nonprofit was founded by Daily Independent reporter Carly Carver.

The city of Ashland isn't the only one supporting the sensory garden. Lowe’s has also pledged support. Other sponsors for the sensory garden include Modern Foods, Infusion Solutions, Build Ashland, Pathways Inc., Braidy Industries, Clarks Pump—N—Shop, Members Choice Credit Union, Marathon Petroleum Company, Catlettsburg Refining LLC and the Foundation for the Tri-State Communities.

City Commissioner Matt Perkins said of the city proposal:

“There are over 500 children who would benefit from a garden like this. Every child deserves the opportunity to play in our park and have something suitable for them as well as every other child.”

We agree. At a time when city resources are increasingly scarce it would have been easy to not pledge this type of support. However, it is the right thing to do. We suspect few would get in the way of this type of project. It benefits kids, it benefits families and it tells the world the city of Ashland is a place where commitment to community is as strong as ever.