By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Yukon city officials plan to have the first entirely “inclusive” playground in Yukon city limits.
The Yukon City Council, at an upcoming meeting, will consider paying $174,945 to replace aging play equipment at Ranchwood Park.
The playground at Ranchwood Park, 200 Linda Lane, is 20 years old.
“The current playground has seen many hours of play and is in need of replacement,” City of Yukon grant writer Claudia Krshka said. “The park is home to hundreds of soccer players and their siblings during soccer season.”
This would be the first “totally inclusive” playground in the City of Yukon, according to Krshka.
The objective of an inclusive playground is to “include everyone to play together,” she explained.
“Inclusive playgrounds are thoughtfully designed to provide a safe place where children of all abilities can play together and are developmentally appropriate for children with and without disabilities,” Krshka shared. “They also integrate all the senses and encourage social play.”
An inclusive playground has ramps that allow someone in a wheelchair or who has difficulty walking to “actually get up on the equipment and play” along with their able-bodied peers, she added.
The current Ranchwood Park playground, just south of the park’s three-year-old restroom, is not accessible for 2-5-year-olds and is not inclusive. A musical element no longer works.
The outdated playground equipment also does not have any shade covering.
“We know how hot it can get in the summer,” Krshka noted.
A BIG DISCOUNT
The City of Yukon has an opportunity to receive a 50% discount on the price of this new playground equipment from the company, Play and Park Structures, if the purchase is made by Oct. 30.
“The city manager is requesting your consideration and approval of $174,945 to replace the playground with an inclusive playground for ages two to 12,” Krshka advised city council members.
This cost would cover new playground equipment for 2-5-year-olds and 5-12-year-olds, a soccer-themed poured-in-place surface, built-in shade structures, delivery, professional installation, and a sanitizing station.
The new inclusive playground at Ranchwood Park would be able twice as large as the existing one.
“This is a great opportunity for the citizens of Yukon,” Krshka said.
Thanking the City’s grant writer for her efforts to secure the new discounted playground equipment, Mayor Shelli Selby said she “loves it.”
Freedom Trail was the City of Yukon’s first Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible playground, that included an area for those with special needs.
The park, on S Holly near Mulvey’s Pond, was built in the mid-1990s by a group of Yukon volunteers.
Krshka shared the definition of an accessible playground, according to the ADA of 1990:
A playground that is accessible is one that is easy for a child who uses mobility devices to maneuver in or around.
An accessible playground offers a range of play experience to children of varying abilities. However, it doesn’t mean that every piece of equipment must be usable by every child.
All of Yukon’s playgrounds are ADA-accessible, Krshka added.