LEESBURG, Fla. – The story of the new wheelchair-accessible swing in Leesburg all started with a video posted to Facebook nearly one year ago leading up to Monday when 9-year-old Koltin Snyder became the first to ride the swing.
The new swing at Rogers Park was paid for by crowd-funding started by Mark Stapleton, however, the city faced more hurdles than expected to get it ready to ride.
“Now he can partake like a normal child,” Kevin Snyder, Koltin’s adoptive father, said. “We have a couple of grandchildren and we take them to the park and normally we have to stand there with a wheelchair and he couldn’t do anything, you kind of feel like he’s left out.”
“I just started it, but it’s the community,” Stapleton said of the fundraiser.
Stapleton said he was inspired to start the fundraiser after seeing a similar swing in a video on Facebook. It took a few days for the community to raise the $3,000 needed to purchase the swing to gift to the city. Bill Bryan Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram donated $500 for the swing.
Koltin’s biological grandfather also contributed $500.
“I felt compelled, because of Koltin being handicapped the way he is, (I) felt compelled to give money,” Frankie Fodrie said.
“I’m ecstatic about it being installed, it’s been a long journey,” Stapleton said.
The journey to this occasion took about 1 year because once the city had the swing, city officials say they faced unexpected costs of nearly $29,000 for liability insurance and installation.
However, all of that effort led to the ribbon-cutting Monday afternoon.
Koltin was all smiles, letting out a “yee haw’” of excitement enjoying his first ride on the new swing.
“He loves swinging and any kind of fun activities, he is all boy,” Cathy Snyder said.