The City of Auburn received a spotlight facility award at the annual Washington Recreation & Park Association (WRPA) conference last month, receiving the highest honor for the Discovery Playground. The judges were impressed with the features of the playground and the successful fundraising efforts. Spotlight award categories included parks, facilities, sports complexes, special use areas, websites, posters, special events, and adult or youth programs. The Discovery Playground also received Best Community Service Program from the Washington Festival & Events Association at their annual conference in March.
Here is an 11 minutes video that is worth spending time watching as it is a wonderful explanation of why we build accessible playgrounds.
Auburn’s new 32,000 square foot Discovery Playground opened in June 2010 to the delight of thousands of children. This unique playground features accessible surfacing; play opportunities that support all levels of development; elevated sand tables, water, and auditory elements; cozy spots to gather; areas to swing, spin, balance, roll and play. Tactile surfaces and a sensory garden include an integrated system of spaces devoted to the five senses: see, hear, touch, taste and smell. The playground was designed with the physical, sensory and developmental abilities of all children in mind and is a place where children of all abilities learn together through play, develop essential life skills, and participate in an environment where compassion and acceptance flourish.
In just under nine months, the Discovery Playground fundraising campaign raised over $319,824 to support of the project, including $94,172 of in-kind services that were donated toward the project. Donations were received by 71 separate funding sources, including individuals, corporations, businesses, granting agencies, foundations, service clubs, children and service providers. In addition to the financial support, members of the community supported the project by planting the entire sensory garden and assisting with the playground landscaping. Service groups and other community groups are assisting with the long term upkeep as needed.