Roanoke, VA – The new handicap accessible playground at Smith Park is open for play. Mayor Sherman Lea, members of Roanoke’s Civitan Club, and the Roanoke Parks and Recreation team celebrated the ribbon cutting earlier this afternoon.
“Inclusivity played a big role in determining the design of this playground,” said Donnie Underwood, Parks and Greenways Planner for Roanoke Parks and Recreation. “Our goal was to build a playground that appeals to children of all ages, abilities and interests.”
The playground design includes features and equipment that meet many Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The ramps that connect most of the playground, for example, are wheelchair accessible. In addition to slides, swings, and a climbing tunnel, there are also chimes, drums, sprocket and gear panels, spinners and both Braille and language instruction elements built into the playground design.
The Civitan Club donated money to build the original playground at Smith Park in the early ‘90s. When it came time to replace the old equipment with a new playground, the Civitans donated $35,000 this year to replace the original park.
“I have enjoyed this project probably more than any other that I have been involved in, because you can see the joy that Smith Park has brought to so many over the years,” said Nancy Larsen, Area 6 Director of the Chesapeake District, Civitan International.
“While it may take a community to raise a child, it also takes a community to create fun and enjoyable experiences in our public spaces,” said Underwood. “Partnerships with like-minded organizations like the Civitans of Roanoke enable the city to create new and vibrant park features that otherwise would not have been possible.”
With the opening of the new playground at Smith Park, Roanoke Parks and Recreation has completed its goal to rebuild four ADA accessible playgrounds this year. The other three new playgrounds are at Morningside Park, Norwich Park and Eureka Park.
For more information, contact Whitney Slightham, Department of Parks and Recreation Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, at 540-853-5847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.