Chattanooga's PlayCore, a leading company in play and recreation research, programming, and products, recently awarded its Inclusion National Demonstration Site Award to a new inclusive playground in Tennessee. Imagination Station in Collegedale was awarded this prestigious designation for its inclusive playground design, which embraces children of all abilities.
The Imagination Station inclusive playground, at 4910 Swinyar Drive, highlights the essence of the Collegedale community and exemplifies the principles of a fully inclusive playground.
The city of Collegedale and its representatives, Rodney Keaton (retired) and Eric Sines (Director of Public Works), Joe Farrow (city engineer), Chris Flood (Parks and Recreation), Ted Rodgers (City manager), the City Commissioners Ethan White, Phil Garver, Debbie Baker, along with Tim Johnson (Vice Mayor) and Mayor Katie Lamb, announced the grand opening of Imagination Station with an official ribbon cutting taking place on Monday, June 29, at 4 p.m.
Officials said, "A truly inclusive playground goes beyond “getting there,” and addresses what people will do once they are at the playground. Great inclusive playground designers are thinking beyond physical access and considering the needs of the whole person, to intentionally provide opportunities across the entire developmental spectrum-physical, cognitive, sensory, social, and communicative development."
PlayCore is proud to partner with leading experts at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities and Lekotek to help communities provide meaningful, healthy play opportunities for everyone through their research and resulting programs, Me2 and 2 Play Together. Me2 addresses inclusion through the 7 Principles of Inclusive Play Design and encourages individuals to think of inclusion across all developmental domains. 2 Play Together is an activity guide containing intentional strategies to promote quality inclusive play opportunities while providing children with the tools to ask questions, get accurate information, explore their feelings, and learn how to positively interact with their peers.
“The Me2 program is founded on the understanding that beyond disability, there are abilities; beyond accessibility, there is inclusion. By following the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design, the Me2 Program helps play environments move beyond accessibility and be truly inclusive,” said Dr. Keith Christensen, faculty fellow, Utah State Center for Persons with Disabilities.