Child’s Play

Fort Worth’s first inclusive playground designed to be accessible to children of all abilities is about to be a dream come true.

Rendering for Frank Kent Playground, a project that has been in development for 5 years. Provided by Frank Kent Dream Park.

The Frank Kent Dream Park Fort Worth, a playground for children of all abilities, will soon be a reality!

The playground is located in Trinity Park and, when it opens to the public on April 15, will be one of Texas’s largest inclusive playgrounds.

Organizer and board president Rachael Churchill was inspired by a whimsical, beautifully designed playground that she and her son enjoyed while they were visiting family in Wisconsin. She did not know anything about the park and wasn’t aware of its universal focus until she read the sign at the entry that said, “Possibility Playground, for children of all abilities.”

“That really struck a chord with me,” Churchill said, “able-bodied children playing side-by-side with children with disabilities.”

The Frank Kent Dream Park will include 57,000 square feet of fenced play area and green spaces, with a design that goes far beyond ADA guidelines.

“Rubber mulch is ADA compliant,” Churchill said. “But if you have a child in a wheelchair or with limited mobility, getting across rubber mulch is impossible. So, even if there’s an adaptive swing, you can’t get to it.”

At the Dream Park, rubber surfacing will make getting around easier for both children and caregivers alike, while ramps help with getting on and off playground equipment such as slides, swings, climbing features, musical elements, interactive panels, and more.

“When we talk about inclusive playgrounds, it’s not just mobility issues,” Churchill added. “If a child with a cochlear implant goes down a plastic slide, can short-out from static electricity. We have a roller slide that allows children with these implants to go down safely. And that same slide is great for kids with sensory issues.” Shade structures keep the park comfortable, while extra-wide sidewalks and plenty of parking make it accessible.

Upon its completion, the Dream Park, with its $3.1 million price tag funded by private donations, will be given to the city of Fort Worth.

To learn more about the Frank Kent Dream Park, visit www.dreamparkfw.org or https://www.facebook.com/dreamparkfw/ – Laura Samuel Meyn, 360westmagazine.com

Looking for an inclusive and accessible playground near Grapevine? Go to Dove Park and check out Casey’s Clubhouse, which opened in 2013.

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