Chaparral Park is christening a new playground in January that will serve as a national model of inclusion for both able-bodied children and those with disabilities.
All city playgrounds meet ADA accessibility guidelines, but the new Chaparral Park facility features equipment that will allow children and parents of all ability levels to literally share common ground.
The playground offers "multi-sensory interactive experiences," said Brett Jackson, the city’s parks and recreation manager. There are swings that are more secure, like a car seat, that will enable children to feel the sensation of swinging. There is even a swing that can be used by both parent and child, allowing them to face each other so they can experience the fun together.
Accessibility will also be more prevalent, allowing children using walking devices or wheelchairs to move around freely. There will also be equipment that spins -- suited for children with cognitive disabilities -- and even a small quiet area in case a child is overwhelmed by playground activity.
"It is not just a play area for those with various disabilities,” Jackson said. "There is challenging equipment as well for able-bodied children, again making it an all-inclusive play area where everyone can participate together."
The new playground incorporates guidelines developed by the Me2 program, a joint effort by the PlayCore company and Utah State University “founded on the understanding that beyond disability there are abilities and beyond accessibility there is inclusion."
The program and new Chaparral Park playground follow the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design: Be Fair, Be Included, Be Smart, Be Independent, Be Safe, Be Active and Be Comfortable.
"Our project will be the first playground in Arizona to be designated as a national demonstration site and serve in a network of leadership case examples that deploy research based best practices," Jackson said.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. Jan. 17. Join Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, along with the Parks and Recreation and Human Services commissions as they celebrate this fantastic addition to Scottsdale.