Central Park All-Inclusive Playground Initiative

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The City of Grinnell and its Parks & Recreation board are planning an extension of all-inclusive playground equipment onto the Central Park playground. Fundraising efforts have begun to build a play area to the south of the existing playground. This extension will allow all children, regardless of abilities, to play together freely. The proposed design will include sensory-rich components throughout. It will allow all children to play without the help of their parent/guardian to access the equipment. The six proposed new features will have interactive capabilities including a large arch feature that mobile app users can use to play hundreds of different games to improve motor and cognitive skills. This feature would only be the third one of its kind in the state of Iowa.  

Through our research, we have found over 11% of children locally have a disability of some kind. Although the city’s traditional playground equipment is considered accessible by ADA standards, not all children have the same opportunities to play in the same play spaces. This extension to the Central Park playground will add a space where everyone can play while enhancing the jewel park of the city’s park system. In conversations with community members who have personal experience with children that have a disability, it was conveyed that families with a child who has special needs seek out all-inclusive playgrounds. Over the last decade, as playground manufacturers have evolved their product, a focus on inclusive play equipment has popularized.

The initiative has collected $200,000 in funding and private gifts, which are either pledged or in hand, of the $300,000 estimated project budget. The goal to install the playground would be the spring of 2024. Once it is built, the Central Park all-inclusive playground will serve the youth of Grinnell and the surrounding communities and allow all children, regardless of ability, a play space to learn and play freely together.

Those interested in learning more about the Central Park All-inclusive Playground can contact Grinnell Parks & Recreation Director, Jordan Allsup at 641-236-2620 or at jallsup@grinnelliowa.gov.