BILLINGS — A sensory pathway at Comanche Park, located at 343 S. Plainview St., is the first of its kind for Billings parks.
The pathway is intended to help children simultaneously play and learn, with unique tactile features for kids to explore their senses.
Inanna Hencke, an AmeriCorps volunteer involved with the Billings Metro VISTA Project, was tasked with designing the sign at the beginning of the path to let people know what it's all about.
"There are different textures and sizes," Hencke said on Tuesday. “The more opportunities that children have, you know, to explore their senses, the calmer and more rounded they’re going to be as adults.”
Hencke's favorite part of the path is not available during the winter season, but when the weather starts to warm up, fruit trees planted near the path offer a nice treat for those using the path to enjoy.
She said she feels proud to have played a role in the first sensory path in at Billings park.
“I’ve been an artist since the minute I could hold a pencil. So, every opportunity that I get to employ my artistic skills to help projects that positively impact the community is certainly a win for me,” Hencke said.
Tam Rodier, a VISTA program coordinator, said the path wasn't initially intended to be a sensory one. Rodier was involved with helping improve the entire park by getting the streets around it paved, and adding solar lights and a mural on the basketball court.
“In conversations with the contractor, she had a family member with autism and she suggested the sensory path,” Rodier said. “This park is in a low-income area, and that qualified it to use community development block grant funds.”