New inclusive playground opens in Mountlake Terrace

Cutting the ribbon, L-R: Front row — Mountlake Terrace City Councilmembers Steve Woodard, Laura Sonmore and Rick Ryan; Diana White of the Hazel Miller Foundation; Shawna Birkett of Great Western Recreation, which designed the playground; Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright; State Rep. Cindy Ryu, Councilmember Bryan Wahl and Rachel Alger, liaison for U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene.Back Row: Councilmember Rory Paine-Donovan and Quinn Connell of Great Western Recreation. (Photo by Julia Wiese)

The Hazel Miller Universally Accessible Playground had its long-awaited unveiling Wednesday at Ballinger Park.

The project, which started construction late last summer, was awaiting warm, dry weather to install the rubber surface. At last, construction is complete, and just in time for summer fun.

“After years of work and contributions from the community, the city is proud to showcase the Hazel Miller Universally Accessible Playground,” said Jeff Betz, Mountlake Terrace Recreation and Parks Director. “It is the first of its kind in Mountlake Terrace, and one of only a few in Snohomish County incorporating universal design principles, which allow all ages and abilities to play.”

Victor plays the xylophone. (Photo by Julia Wiese)

The 6,300-square-foot playground goes beyond the minimum accessibility guidelines to create outdoor space for all children. It is a PlayCore National Demonstration Site, a research-based recreation standard. A sign with a QR code (near the playground entrance) allows users to provide data and share their experiences.

The new space includes swings, ramped structures, slides, a net climber, merry-go-all and more.

“I’m just so proud that we finally got this ADA playground open,” said Mountlake Terrace Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright, noting that she and the parks department received “tons of emails” asking when the park would open. “And today– look at all those kids,” Matsumoto Wright said.

Parkgoers can access the playground by walking the newly paved trail from either the boat launch parking lot or the Mickey Corso Community Clubhouse lot to the north.

Oliver tries out the playground equipment at the new Hazel Miller Universally Accessible Playground. (Photos by David Carlos)
The new equipment was a hit.
Mallory takes a ride in the spinning chairs.

Oliver just hanging aroundAhead of the official 4 p.m. ribbon-cutting, self-appointed playground testers ran the new equipment through its paces during the noon hour Wednesday.

Oliver gave it his approval:  “I think it’s awesome,” he said.  “The horn works on the train.”

Mallory said:  “I like the horn (on the train), and I like the spinny thing (the spinning chair), and this swing, and the music (from the metal pipe xylophone).”

The Hazel Miller Foundation and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, administered by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, provided financial support for the project.

“This new playground takes the community a step closer to realizing the potential of Ballinger Park and completing the projects identified in the Ballinger Park Master Plan,” Betz said. “Next up is Hall Creek restoration project which is currently under construction.”

“Later this summer, we’ll be seeking public input for the design of the viewing platform and trails on the west side of the park,” he said.

Ballinger Park, at 23000 Lakeview Dr., is a 55-acre regional park with waterfront access, wildlife viewing, sport fields, trails, and a new playground.

The Mountlake Terrace playground joins two others recently opened inclusive playgrounds nearby: one at the Meadowdale Athletic Complex in Lynnwood and at the Civic Center Playfield in Edmonds.

— Reporting by Julia Wiese and David Carlos



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