Inclusive playground installation begins


BROOKVILLE — The installation of the inclusive playground began on June 24 in Golden Gate Park, located at 545 Upper Lewisburg-Salem Road.

“The new playground equipment is going in on the west side of the creek,” city manager Kuntz said.

“There will be a sidewalk connecting the playground with the parking lot at the Brookville Community Theater,” Kuntz continued.

Council gave its authorization last February to purchase equipment through Sourcewell, of Staples, Minn.

Sourcewell is a cooperative purchasing program.

Kuntz said the project was made possible through grants the city received.

A portion of the funds to pay for the playground came from a Community Development Block Grant and a Montgomery County Solid Waste District the city received. Council accepted the grant funds at the Dec. 5, 2023, council meeting.

The original cost of the playground was $425,000 when it was first presented by then city manager Sonja Keaton to council in July of 2023.

But the playground had to be redesigned after the city didn’t receive the requested amount of money from the two funds.

Keaton submitted an application for a $200,000 CDBG Block grant, but CDBG officials only approved $75,000 toward the project.

Keaton also submitted an application to the Montgomery County Solid Waste District for an $87,500 grant, but only received $75,000.

“I reached out to our contact with Midstates Recreation and she was able to redesign the inclusive playground to cut that project cost to $200,000, with the ability to add additional equipment and expand upon the playground in future years if we move forward with applying for grant assistance,” Keaton said at the Dec. 5, 2023 meeting.

Keaton said the two grants will pay for $150,000 of the cost for phase one of the project.

“Our commitment is $50,000,” Keaton said.

Phase one of the project consists of the construction of the large piece of playground equipment.

Construction of the sidewalk is also part of phase one.

Keaton explained the sidewalk, which will allow handicapped individuals to reach the playground, was a requirement in order to receive the CDBG funds.

Keaton noted the project could continue to expand over a three- to four-year period, depending on available funding.

According to literature provided to council by Keaton, “an accessible play area means that a child who uses a wheelchair can get into it. If it is inclusive, then the play activities have been selected and laid out in such a way that the child in the chair can engage with children of different abilities while they play.”

The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), a public health practice and resource center on health promotion for people with disability, states

“an inclusive playground considers not just physical access, but also emotional, social, and psychological benefits of play. It encompasses the philosophy that children and adults of all abilities benefit immensely from being able to play and interact together.”

Reach Terry Baver at [email protected].

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