It has been 38 years since Scott Rose was killed in an automobile accident.
But his love for children prompted his parents, Judy Rose and the late Jim Rose, to establish the Scott Rose Foundation, which assists children by offering them opportunity to grow and develop.
That legacy still continues, with the Scott Rose Foundation funding playground equipment for the Wellness Park and Levi Jackson Park that is ADA compliant and focuses on musical instruments for autistic and handicapped children.
Lawrence Kuhl, treasurer for the Scott Rose Foundation, approached the London City Tourism Commission several months ago with a proposal for the playground equipment - which was accepted gratefully by the commission. A grant from the state provided half the funding for the Levi Jackson addition, while the playground at the Wellness Park will be jointly funded by the Foundation and the city tourism.
On Friday evening, Judy Rose and Kuhl joined City Safety Officer Rick Cochrane at the Scott Rose Playground, formerly known as the playground by Shelter House #2 in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road Park. That visit was in conjunction with the annual Autism Walk and celebrated the musical park that allows autistic children to enjoy music while they enjoy some added equipment to accommodate handicapped children as well.
"It's a known fact that music is the universal language," Kuhl said. "You can see that by the children who are using the equipment already."
The playground area has been renovated and updated, with a rubber cushioned matting that makes it easier for mobile and immobile children to access the equipment. The swing set offers a seat where parents can place their children on one end of a swing in a secured seat while the parent can be seated on the other end. Another feature is a round-about which is mounted into the playground surface so children in wheelchairs can still enjoy the mini merry-go-round experience.
A similar playground is being constructed at the Wellness Park - the site where Jim Rose established Interstate Coal in the 1970s. That company later sold and last operated as James River Coal.
Judy Rose was ecstatic with the playground that bears her son's legacy, thanking Kuhl and Cochrane for their dedication to establishing a playground that would assist mentally and physically challenged children to grow and develop.
"I thank you for this wonderful playground and all the work you've done with it," Rose said. "The Scott Rose Foundation is focused on giving children opportunities and this is an excellent example."
While visiting the park she was approached by several parents, thanking her for funding to create a unique playground for autistic children like their own.
Lisa Depew with the Autism Walk said the playground was a great addition to the community. While Depew did not have specific numbers of the autistic children in Laurel County, she said that working with Camp L.E.A.P. each year usually averaged around 130 participants.