By Conrad Dudderar
A “totally inclusive” playground has opened in Yukon.
The Yukon City Council hosted an April 20th ribbon cutting for the new playground installed at Ranchwood Park, 200 Linda Lane.
Ranchwood Park now has a 2,862-square-foot inclusive playground for youth ages 2-12 years that is double the size of the former playground.
The playground has two separate structures for children 2 years to 5 years-old and for 5-12-year-old children. It features soccer-themed pour-in-place surfacing, shade structures and a sanitizing station.
The objective of an inclusive playground is to “include everyone to play together,” City of Yukon grant writer Claudia Krshka said.
“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,” she said.
“They also integrate all the senses and encourage social play.”
An inclusive playground has ramps so someone who is in a wheelchair or has difficulty walking can play along with their able-bodied peers.
Local children are really enjoying their new neighborhood playground, Krshka said this week.
Families started coming out to play on the new equipment practically the minute it was ready after being installed, she added.
TIME TO REPLACE
Ranchwood Park’s previous playground was not inclusive and did not have any shade covering. A musical element also had stopped working.
The previous playground had been in place since 2000 and needed replacement, Krshka told Yukon city officials last fall when the equipment was purchased.
The City of Yukon paid $174,945.09 to Park & Play Structures of Oklahoma for the playground equipment, delivery and professional installation. The vendor offered the large structure at a 50% discount.
Krshka noted the park is home to hundreds of soccer players, and their siblings, during soccer season.
To explain how accessible playgrounds differ from inclusive playgrounds, Krshka shared this definition from the Americans with Disabilities Act (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 noted.
Freedom Trail was the City of Yukon’s first ADA-accessible playground, that included an area for people with special needs.
The playground, 2101 S Holly near Mulvey’s Pond, was built in the mid-1990s by a group of Yukon volunteers.