Published on September 30, 2021
The Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department invites the public to complete a survey on the inclusivity of playground areas. The survey is available at parks.lincoln.ne.gov. Printed copies are available from the Park and Leisure Office, 3131 “O” St., in all municipal leisure centers or by calling 402-441-7847. The deadline for submitting the survey is October 20th.
Parks and Recreation Department staff and a group of advocates and experts are working together to develop a strategic plan for integrating more inclusive playgrounds into the city’s park system, said Lynn Johnson, director of Lincoln Parks and Recreation. The information provided by the survey will help support the development of a strategic approach to increasing the opportunities for inclusive and adaptive outdoor play in playgrounds in city parks.
Johnson said nearly all of Lincoln’s 91 playgrounds meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements in that they are accessible but may not provide ideal inclusive play. Inclusive playgrounds, he said, allow access with mobility aids, but also allow children and adults with disabilities to use the devices alongside those without disabilities, and offer play features that stimulate the senses through touch, sound, and color.
“A well-designed inclusive playground enables visual monitoring by parents and carers and offers quiet retreat areas in which children can withdraw if necessary. Inclusive play equipment enables different challenges and skills depending on how the user interacts with it, ”said Johnson.
In addition to the survey, the planning process will use information provided by a working group and collected through community meetings. The final plan will be reviewed and approved by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
One element that the plan will consider, according to Johnson, is whether the city should continue to have a large centralized inclusive playground or whether a program should be developed that includes outdoor play facilities throughout the community. Antelope Park served as the central location for two generations of “Play for All” playgrounds and was last updated in 2002.
“I am delighted that our community is taking another step towards ‘Play for All’,” said Johnson. “The possibility that all children can play next to each other regardless of their abilities is important for development. Parents and carers should also have the opportunity to participate and feel that their child is in a safe, comfortable and fun environment. “
For more information, see parks.lincoln.ne.gov.