It’s almost summer! It took a long time to get here this year, but it is finally here. For me, summer has always meant swimming, sprinklers, and sunbathing. I love water. A water exercise class has been the only exercise I have kept up with. I just love going to the pool and reading a book (with sunscreen on, of course), and then jumping in once I get too hot.
There are many reasons I love the water. It is probably the same reasons so many people love the water. Playing in water has restorative properties: it alleviates stress and helps to regulate emotions. Many of us take a long bath to relieve stress and take refreshing showers when we are overwhelmed. I get my most creative ideas when showering.
The Wheaton, IL Park District, Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, Kiwanis Club of Wheaton, and the Forest Preserve of DuPage County have come together to create a new and unique Sensory Garden and Inclusive Playground. They have big plans, which include:
A playground area
A sound and scent garden
A shelter and restroom building to accommodate extended visits.
An accessible baseball field, to allow children of all abilities to have the traditional ballfield experience
In order to build this the group is undertaking a variety of fundraising. They are looking for corporations and individuals to sponsor specific section of the playspace. They have put together a nice brochure explaining the sponsorship opportunities.
They partnered with a new business in town. Nothing Bundt Cakes celebrated their grand opening by donating 20% of their proceeds to the Sensory Garden project. The planning group also used this opportunity as an informational event. They had volunteers at the bakery throughout the opening weekend to answer questions about the playground and to generate excitement.
They have found on-line contests where they have engaged the community to vote for this project. They tried for the Discover The Forest and Get Your Community Outdoors grant and while they did not win, they were able to generate additional community support.
Brand new play equipment for youngsters with special needs has recently been installed in Alton’s Public Gardens, just in time for the Easter holidays.
The scheme forms the second phase of a refurbishment of the site, Alton Town Council’s busiest play ground. It includes a roundabout that can take wheelchairs and pushchairs, two swings with secure harnesses and a third swing (which requires a RADAR key to unlock it) that can accommodate a wheelchair-bound user.
It is believed that the swings are possibly a first for a public open space in Hampshire, whilst it is the second such roundabout for wheelchair users in Alton, the first having been installed by the Council in Anstey Park a few years ago.
President Higgins also opened Ireland’s first special needs playground in Navan, County Meath recently, an adapted space specially designed for sensory exploration with full disabled access. The playground is named ‘Is Féidir Linn’ which translates from Gaelic as ‘We are able.’ Built at a cost of €45,000 the project would be easily replicated throughout the country given the cost is not significantly different from that of a standard modern playground.
The playground includes some very unique pieces of playground equipment as you can see in this video. Pictures of the opening are available here.
The Athan Downs Playground Renovation Project is complete. The new playground is a Universally
Accessible Playground (UAP) design. The design offers variations of play equipment components
including swings, slides, platforms, climbing elements, and resilient surfacing with sound
pads. This type of design accommodates a wide range of physical abilities for children up to
twelve years old and features components and construction to allow total wheelchair access to
all the play structures. Construction was completed and the playground opened on schedule for
public use in December.
City officials held an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the park’s new, universally accessible playground April 13. The 20-year-old play structure has been replaced with a design that offers full access to each piece of equipment for persons with disabilities as much of the previous structure was surrounded by sand and inaccessible.
The new playground features rubber surfacing as well as a series of different types of ramps that will be accessible by wheelchair. Athan Downs now has a raised sand-digging element so children in wheelchairs can play.
“Another element was providing elements for out of chair experiences, to include both tot swing and regular swings as well as chair swings,” said Jeff Gault, operations divisions manager for the public services department. “We also included elements of shade over some of the equipment…. and musical pads that go in the surfacing material so kids can stand on it, jump on it and make all kinds of sounds.”
ONE Park For ALL is a story of a little girl, her mother, and a town that decided to make a difference. This book is meant to teach! It helps both children and adults understand the obstacles that some children encounter when they go to a park that is not all inclusive.
One of many projects for Hope Park Frisco has been this children’s book, One Park for All. Authored by Kristan Olfers and illustrated by Karen Dodson, the book serves several purposes.
It tells about the origins of the playground named Hope Park: “As with many great stories this one begins with a mother’s love for her child and her hope for a brighter future…” the book starts out.
It also explains in easy to understand terms the need for a playground that’s accessible to all children, highlighting some of the features useful to children with special needs.
Proceeds from the book go toward Hope Park, which will be built by the community in Frisco Commons park. Books are available online through Hope Park Frisco and Amazon.com.
Park Hope is boundless in it’s design and will be like no other park in Frisco. This park will be designed, paid for, and built by — the community of Frisco. It will include play areas for children with special needs. It will have new and exciting play equipment not yet seen in any Frisco parks. It will go beyond monkey bars, slides and simulated climbing rocks. It will truly be an inclusive play adventure! It is expected to open in Spring 2013. The community will be building the playground through a week-long community build in the middle of April.
The City of Beatrice now has an agreement for installation of handicap-accessible playground equipment at Riverside Park.
The city council Monday night approved the agreement with Fry and Associates for playground equipment and rubber surfacing…..at a cost of some $59,000. Public Properties Director Mark Pethoud says the project will be funded by equal shares from lodging tax funds and a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission grant.
The project is part of a general overhaul of the park which will include updating the tennis courts. They will be keeping on court for tennis and converting the other into a multi-purpose court where basketball could be played.
“It was kind of a need for this neighborhood,” said Public Properties Director Mark Pethoud. “Cedar Elementary is the next closest place for basketball, but kids have to cross the highway to get to it. This way we’ve got basketball and tennis on this side of the highway.
A new shelter will be added with six picnic tables.
Making the playground accessible is a priority for planners, City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer said.
“We wanted to add these things not only for residents, but also for campers attracted to that park,” Tempelmeyer said. “We were looking for amenities we could add to that park, and one was to upgrade the playground and make it ADA accessible. We wanted to make sure everybody could use it and plan for the future.”