The Rotary Club of University Place-Fircrest is partnering with local residents and organizations to create an “all-inclusive” play area at the City’s spacious Cirque Bridgeport Park. The University Place City Council recently approved the allocation of undeveloped park space to house the project. This playground design would provide a safe place where children of all abilities can play together and would be developmentally appropriate for children with or without disabilities. Standard playgrounds have excluded children with physical disabilities or other developmental issues for many years. Children in wheelchairs or with other disabilities have rarely enjoyed a simple swing or merry-go-round. One in ten University Place students is identified with disabilities and in need of special education. Final approval of the design for recreation equipment is slated for the October 17th City Council meeting.
The project has found a potential funding partner in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, which has developed 111 playgrounds and baseball fields, including 6 in Washington State.
All-inclusive playgrounds have gained momentum all across the country as the underserved population of children with disabilities gains recognition. Construction of the playground is scheduled to take place in 2023.