Chicago Park Districts describe what accessible means to them

The Chicago Park District does an excellent job describing to their constituents what they mean when they talk about an accessible playground. Many park districts say that their parks are accessible, but what they mean is that they are ADA compliant, which does not mean that they are truly usable for children with disabilities.

First on their home page, under other Chicago Park District resources, accessibility is the first link.  It does help that accessible starts with the letter A.  When you click that link it takes you to a page with two further links.  One is a list of all of their accessible playgrounds.   The other link is a description of what features you might find at one of their playgrounds.

It starts out, “The listed Accessible Playgrounds will have a combination of the features below. The soft surface feature appears at all Accessible Playground locations.”  It then goes on to describe surfacing, swings, drinking fountains, bench pads, picnic tables, transfer platforms, ramps, play panels, ground features, stainless steel slides, and sway funs.

You can find their explanation at Chicago Park District Accessible Playground Features. The pdf has many wonderful pictures of their playgrounds. There are 90 of these parks throughout the city.

The park district also offers 15 accessible beach walks and 70 accessible pool features.  They have plans to add accessible fitness equipment to many of the fitness centers they operate.  There also many waterparks/spray parks within the Chicago Park District system, which often just my their nature are accessible.  There are plans to add more of these types of parks in the next few years.

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