Fund raising to build the first Universal Access playground in the Twin Cities.
For children living with disabilities, even something as simple as playing with friends and siblings can be a challenge, in many cases due to the physical restrictions imposed by traditional playground equipment. Although the standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) knocked down some of these hurdles, universal-access playgrounds go beyond ADA standards to create a space in which children or parents with physical, sensory, or developmental disabilities can use at least 70% of the outdoor equipment. Though none currently exist in the Minneapolis park system, universal-access playgrounds enable all children to enjoy healthy social interaction, fun with peers, and opportunities to explore their own abilities.
Together, the Minneapolis Park Board, Falls 4 All and People for Parks—an organization devoted to beautifying the city’s parks by planting trees, designing themed gardens, and otherwise improving outdoor spaces—is working to create a universal-access playground for Minneapolis-area children of all abilities. The playground is slated to be installed at the Upper Wabun Picnic Area in Minnehaha Park, where it will join a variety of existing facilities and resources to help entice visitors from around the region. In addition to providing increased self-esteem and confidence, the playground will help children with and without disabilities learn cooperation and mutual respect for each other through regular play, and its soft surfaces will provide both kids and elderly caretakers with an added measure of safety.