PlayCore, the leading company in play and recreation research, programming, and products, is proud to announce a recent Inclusion & PlayOn! National Demonstration Site of Excellence designation to a new playground at Harry L. Coomes Recreation Center in Abingdon, VA. Known to the community as Highland Play Station playground, the new structure, renamed Imagination Station, features an addition to the previous structure to create a play space for children of all abilities. To celebrate, a grand opening ceremony will be held on June 3rd, at 10 A.M., at 300 Stanley Street, Abingdon, VA 24210.
After a visit to an inclusive play space in 2014, Kevin Worley, the city’s Director of Parks and Recreation, sought to bring his vision to life to transform the existing structure into an inclusive play space for all children of all abilities.
“We came back (and) we decided there’s no reason why we couldn’t do something like that here,” said Worley.
Worley worked with Play & Park Structures and Bliss Products, to create a structure that features seven new slides, additional swings, and sensory stations to enhance the playground experience for all.
“After spending time with the children of our community, I accepted the challenge to make this dream a reality for many children in our region with special needs,” said Worley.
The new site has also received overwhelming encouragement and support from individuals within the community, Kiwanis Club of Abingdon, the Town of Abingdon, & Lowe’s Home Improvement, as well as corporate sponsors, Johnson Memorial Hospital, K-Va-T Food Stores, and Coca-Cola. Worley, has also engaged the community through selling bricks for the walkway, which are engraved with the names and companies of those who have supported the effort.
“This project is not for me or the center, but for the children of the region,” said Worley.
PlayCore is proud to partner with leading experts, the Utah State University Center for Persons with Disabilities and Lekotek to develop the Me2 and 2 Play Together research and programs, to help communities provide meaningful, healthy play opportunities for everyone.
“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.
Inclusion National Demonstration Sites promote inclusive designs and demonstrate excellence in addressing physical and social inclusion of people of all ages and abilities. The playground features activities that address the following areas of development: cognitive, communicative, sensory, physical, and social/emotional.
In addition, the playground has also received recognition for PlayOn! as it promotes physical activity and active play among youth. The PlayOn! Program is the result of a joint partnership between PlayCore and physical activity experts SHAPE America to provide a solution to enhance active play opportunities on the playground. The park features a variety of six key play elements including: balancing, brachiating, swinging, climbing, sliding, and spinning. By utilizing this program, which includes 125 standards-based fitness activities designed for the playground, sites can help children be more active, and learn to see fitness as fun.
As a National Demonstration Site, Imagination Station will receive certification, become part of a national registry and be promoted actively to other communities wishing to create recreation spaces that utilize best practices in design and/or programming.
To locate this newly opened site, check out: www.pointsmap.com/playcore
About PlayCore: PlayCore helps build stronger communities around the world by advancing play through research, education, and partnerships. The company infuses this learning into its complete family of brands. PlayCore combines best in class planning and education programs with the most comprehensive array of recreation products available to create play solutions that match the unique needs of the each community they serve. Learn more at www.playcore.com