PlayCore, a leading designer, manufacturer, and marketer of a broad range of play and recreation products is excited to recognize Ponder Park as a National Demonstration Site for Inclusive Play. Located in El Paso, TX the new site provides a space for children of all abilities to play together. Ponder Park will be holding a grand opening in conjunction with their Arbor Day celebration on April 27, 2017, at 10 A.M. until 12 P.M. MT at 7500 Burgess Drive, El Paso TX.
The City of El Paso Parks & Recreation seeks to provide indoor and outdoor leisure services to persons of all ages so they can develop skills, socialize, experience nature, relax, and live a healthier lifestyle. “El Paso Parks & Recreation is proud to be a visible leader in promoting outdoor activities in our community and region,” said Joel McKnight, Assistant Parks & Recreation Director for the City of El Paso.
Funding for this $324,052 project was made available from a Quality of Life Bond the citizens of El Paso overwhelmingly passed in 2012, a Parks Promote Quality of Life Grant awarded by Texas Recreation and Park Society, and GameTime .
With a goal of creating the City’s first ever inclusive playground, Triple M Recreation, a GameTime agency, set out to design a space to address the needs of the whole child: cognitive, communicative, sensory, physical, and social/emotional.
“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Joel and the El Paso Parks & Recreation Department to come up with this exciting all-inclusive playground design. I know the people of El Paso will love it,” said Ron Romero, local representative for Triple M Recreation.
“The City of El Paso is very honored to have been selected as one of eight communities in the State of Texas to receive this grant made possible by TRAPS and GameTime. We believe that the City’s first all-abilities playground will help champion a new mindset in our community that can spread throughout the world that recognizes an individual’s abilities not their inabilities to both play and life,” said McKnight.
PlayCore is proud to partner with leading experts at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities and Lekotek to create research, programming, and education opportunities that assist communities in creating meaningful play opportunities for all. The cities being recognized had the opportunity to attend education classes given by PlayCore’s Center for Professional Development as part of the overall initiative.
As mentioned in PlayCore’s guidebook, Me2: 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design™, “Research continues to demonstrate the importance of play across the interconnected domains of child development. Opportunities to be active in play, and participate in community recreation, creates positive physical activity patterns and continues to contribute to better health outcomes.”
Recognized as a National Demonstration Site, the site will receive a certificate of recognition, be placed on the National Demonstration Site registry, and is promoted actively to other communities wishing to offer appropriate inclusive play programs to help share best practices.