Photo courtesy of Magical Bridge Foundation
A new playground at Red Morton Park in Redwood City will be especially welcoming to individuals with disabilities.
Red Morton Park in Redwood City will soon be home to one of the most innovative and inclusive playgrounds in all of the United States.
The park will be designed to be socially inclusive for children and adults of varying physical and cognitive abilities.
The concept aims to go beyond typical playground designs, which often inadvertently overlook the growing autistic population, cognitively challenged, visually and hearing impaired, physically limited and the aging population.
The city is partnering with the Magical Bridge Foundation to bring the park to life. It built its first park in Palo Alto in 2015.
The Redwood City park is expected to open in late 2017 or early 2018.
The City Council approved spending $1.5 million toward the park’s construction and the foundation will raise the rest of the money, about $1.8 million, to complete the work.
Without the foundation’s support, the city could not build such a park, said Parks and Recreation Director Chris Beth.
“We are super excited about this project,” Beth said.
The city follows strict playground standards provided by the American with Disabilities Act but the standards fall short of “full inclusion for the population with an array of disabilities,” Beth wrote in a staff report to council.
The Magical Bridge Playground at Mitchell Park in Palo Alto is designed to address the complex needs of the entire population living with a disability, Beth wrote.
“When given the chance to play side by side inclusively, children with disabilities enjoy a lifetime of greater acceptance by their peers, balanced and satisfying relationships and show marked progress behaviorally,” Beth wrote.
It also helps individuals with disabilities to improve social skills, motor strength, self control and self-esteem, he wrote.
The park in Redwood City will have several zones to play in including the Innovation Zone that will have interactive play experiences using technology, art and design. There will be a Music Zone with a 24-string laser harp and a Tot Zone for younger children.
The Spin Zone will feature a climbing net spinner and ground-level carousel and the Kindness Corner will be a gathering place for education and making friends.
The Slide Mound will be accessible by wheelchair users that will feature a group slide, curvy slide, stimulating roller slide, climbing loops and a climbing net.
There will be a Swing and Sway Zone with bucket swings, group disc swings and sway boat.
There will also be a big picnic and group area.
A highlight of the park will by a two-story Playhouse with a stage that encourages pretend and play.
“We are always looking for ways to bring more value to the community and offer more programs that benefit residents of all ages and abilities,” Beth said.
Go to magicalbridge.org to learn more.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102