In the spirit of supporting local business and enhancing accessibility for its community, Robinson Township, located in the greater Pittsburgh area, welcomed a long-anticipated inclusive playground to Clever Park.
A few years ago, the township completed a parks assessment resulting in recommendations to replace Clever Park’s wooden 25-year-old structures to prevent potential entrapment and other injuries.
They received a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant to fund a large portion of the project. Township Manager Frank Piccolino and his team worked with General Recreation’s playground consultant Curtis Bischof, who has lived in the township for many years.
Frank was pleased to “be able to work with the local guy,” on this project, which isn’t always possible. Over the years, Frank had admired Gen Rec’s and Landscape Structures’ locally-completed projects. “I’d be driving by and see playgrounds our community could aspire to. When the time was right, I did my recon to figure out whose work it was. That was the reference check for me,” Frank explains.
Prior to the actual project, Frank recalls Curtis’ willingness to build a relationship with the department in advance. “Over the years, Curtis helped us with simple replacement parts and bolts. Taking the time to help made an impression on us.”
Along with creating a new play space for a range of age groups, ADA accessibility was the critical need to fulfill in the project, not only through the selection of specific inclusive play components, but with more accessible surfacing to help children and their parents to physically get to the structures on the playground.
The township was very pleased with Gen Rec’s ideas and design concept. Originally, the plan included a rebuilt and refreshed mulch base, but Curtis also offered the idea of the poured-in-place rubber surfacing. Ultimately, Frank did go with the rubber surfacing, “a long-term investment with less maintenance and more accessibility,” he explains. The final design included ground-level access ramps, sensory panels and a variety of swings, including two ADA-accessible ones: the Landscape Structures’ molded bucket seat and harness for 2 to 5 and 5 to 12 year age groups.
Another exciting component is the SwayFun® Glider, the first wheelchair-accessible and inclusive glider to meet all safety standards. On the Sway Fun, there’s room for up to two wheel chairs. Many kids of all abilities can work together, shifting weight to sway the entire glider back and forth.
Gen Rec completed the installation in August 2020, followed by a community soft opening in September. “Everything is awesome and the kids love it,” shares Frank. “We also didn’t realize how much space we had to work with. The new design really opened up the site. It’s exciting. We’ll be able to expand even more in the future.”
Frank and his team enjoyed working with Curtis. “He’s down to earth and patient. We appreciated all the adjustments and attention to details, keeping us in the loop throughout the design and install process,” Frank adds. “We’d love to work with Gen Rec again and are envisioning future projects.”
To learn more about incorporating ADA-accessible play components or new inclusive play areas into your community, contact your local General Recreation Playground Consultant at 800-726-4793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.