Calling All Franklinites: Let's Build an Inclusive Playground!
We’ve recently become aware of a movement to bring inclusion into our public parks here in Franklin, Tennessee! On February 5th, there is a very important meeting. Master plans are being laid for a new park, the proposed Southeast Municipal Complex. The park would be located on 180 acres, on the east side of Franklin between Interstate 65 and the Harpeth River. Part of the 2015 Parks Comprehensive Master Plan, the time has finally come for the park to begin to take shape, and they are looking for your feedback! One idea that is gaining momentum, thanks to local community leaders, is to build an inclusive playground, one that would be accessible to every member of Franklin’s growing community. But in order to make this dream a reality, we need your help! The individuals planning this park need to know that our community needs an inclusive playground! What Is an Inclusive Playground?
The basic idea behind an inclusive playground is exactly what the name implies – a playground that truly includes anyone and everyone. In execution, an inclusive playground should have certain features to enhance every child’s play experience, regardless of age, size, mobility, or ability level. On a very basic level, inclusive playgrounds should be equally accessible to all individuals. This means accessibility that is fully aligned with the specifications set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Wide paths and ramps both on the playground itself and leading to it, in conjunction with accessible playground surfacing and equipment, are the keys to ensuring that every person who wishes to access the playground can do so with as little difficulty as possible. So, too, should the playground equipment be accessible to all, including the implementation of equipment that could be used and accessed in many diverse ways. Multiple play functions for one piece of equipment allow for every child to be creative in the ways they experience their playground, and ensures that every child can feel that they are a part of community play at every moment. On inclusive playgrounds, all equipment is designed to be used by all children. There is no separate section with accessible equipment – everyone is playing together. Not