A new, inclusive playground at Secor Metropark is designed to capture children’s imagination and engage them with a lifelong appreciation for nature and parks. Secor Metropark is located between Central Avenue and Bancroft Street on the eastern edge of the Evergreen School Distict in Richfield Township.
Metroparks Toledo officials say they recognized a gap in inventory of inclusive playgrounds around Lucas County, and that a barrier-free playground was needed. According to Joe Fausnaugh, Chief of Operations, playgrounds are often children’s first introduction to parks. All children need outdoor play, so by removing barriers to play, children of all abilities can enjoy the park together.
“Our goal for this site is to have a playground where any child in our community can come and enjoy without worrying about any limitations or whether they belong,” said Fausnaugh. “This is a playground everyone can enjoy.”
Playground manufacturer GameTime contributed $100,000 toward the first phase of the playground, which is now open for use.
Phase 2, next year, will include additional play equipment thanks to a grant from the Ohio-based Lott-Conlon Foundation, as well as renovations to a nearby shelter and restroom facility for family picnics, birthday parties and other gatherings.
The playground’s design is focused around the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design, as outlined in Me2, a program developed in partnership with PlayCore and Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. The program provides an overview of why inclusion is so important, helpful research to help stakeholders understand diversity, inclusion, and social equity, and tips for designing inclusive play environments that benefit the whole child, whole environment, and whole community.
To continue to celebrate Metroparks Toledo’s commitment to advancing play and recreation through best practices, Secor Metropark will receive a certificate of recognition, become a part of a network of potential research sites and will be promoted actively to other communities wishing to create recreation spaces using design and/or programming.