The children’s playground at the Palisades Recreation Center, in addition to being nearly 20 years old, is not ADA compliant, and needs to be replaced.
The Park Advisory Board and Park Director Erich Haas spoke about plans for a new playground at the board’s quarterly meeting in October.
Brad Thornton, director of development of Shane’s Inspiration, an internationally-recognized company specializing in inclusive playgrounds, said his firm could provide a design, based on community input, and then help raise the necessary funds.
Playgrounds are no longer described in terms of how many swings and the kinds of slides, but also in the differences between ADA compliant (required by law), accessible and inclusive.
ADA compliant, which is what the City of L.A. now builds, allows a child in a wheelchair to get in and around on the playground, but does not necessarily allow
the child to use the equipment. Accessible playgrounds are built so that a person using a wheelchair may use the equipment. It may have pieces that move or make music, and there may be an accessible swing seat and quiet places for children to calm down.
Inclusive or universally accessible playground goes a step further than accessible by challenging every child at his or her level, and encouraging children of all abilities to play with one another.
When asked, Erich Haas said he was not sure how much money the city would spend to replace the playground with an ADA compliant playground.
Thorton said that a universal playground would cost from $300,000 to $700,000, depending on the elements the community wanted to include. Items such as water equipment or music result in a higher price.
“These projects [inclusive playgrounds] are legacy projects,” said Thorton, who estimated an 18-week design period and 30 days for construction—if funding and permits are in place.
Haas was asked if money budgeted for a new ADA compliant playground at the Recreation Center could go towards an inclusive playground, with the community funding the difference.
“I’ll look into it,” he said
In arguing to approve Shane’s Inspiration as the company to design the new Palisades playground, PAB member Susan McInerney, who organizes the annual Halloween Spooktacular, said: “This is an opportunity to build something exciting. We’re shooting for the stars for the Palisades; we don’t want a typical playground.”
The PAB approved a motion that “Shane’s Inspiration be the vendor to guide us through the process of incorporating a universally accessible playground.”
Visit shanesinspiration.org for more information. Contact Erich Haas at email@example.com.