Officials cut ribbon for new Meadowdale inclusive playground

The new Meadowdale inclusive playground is part of the Meadowdale Athletic Complex at 16700 66th Ave. W.
This parent-and-kid swing allows parents to participate directly with their children in enjoying the playground.
The ice cream was the main attraction for this youngster, who points out his choice.

More than a dozen local officials were joined by members of the public and a bevy of Meadowdale Elementary students to celebrate the official opening of a new inclusive playground located in the Meadowdale Athletic Complex adjacent to the school.

This playground breaks new ground, in that it is the first to be officially recognized as a national demonstration site for the seven principles of inclusive play –recognized by Playcore, a national organization of facilitators and experts collaborating to promote inclusive play and recreation.

After welcoming attendees, City of Lynnwood Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Director Lynn Sordel introduced Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell for introductory remarks.

Lynnwood Mayor Frizzell spoke of the long-term community impact of the new facility.

“I’m so excited about this new playground,” she began.  “Here in Lynnwood we are an inclusive community where all are welcome.  This playground has been years in the planning and will have an impact on the community for years to come.  By broadening the level of accessibility and engagement with our parks, it improves the overall health of our community.  Thousands of people use this playfield every week – the baseball diamonds, the multipurpose areas – and now they can bring along their kiddos to enjoy this new outstanding place to play.”

Frizzell was followed by Mayor Mike Nelson of Edmonds, who spoke about his long-time support for facilities such as this.

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson referenced his long-time commitment to inclusive play.

“It began for me while I was serving on our city council,” he recalled, “when I spoke with a mom who told me that her child has cerebral palsy, uses a walker, and is sad because he couldn’t play with his friends. That moment changed how I view our parks, and I’m proud to say that it led to our first inclusive playground in Seaview Park – and now we’re working on our third. I’m looking forward to seeing many more of these where children of all abilities can play with each other, not separately.”

Nelson was followed by Snohomish County Parks Division Director Sharon Swan, who stressed how successful projects such as this are the result of effective partnerships between all levels of government working for the common good.

“The public doesn’t care if it’s a city park or a county park,” she remarked. “The point is that it is there for people to use and enjoy.”

Edmonds School District Superintendent Rebecca Miner gave particular thanks to the Meadowdale Elementary students who participated in the design process by submitting ideas and recommendations.

Edmonds School District Superintendent Rebecca Miner began her remarks by thanking the cities of Lynnwood and Edmonds for working together to “bring this marvelous resource to the community,” but she extended special thanks to Meadowdale Elementary School Librarian Diane Belote for working with her students to actively participate in the playground design process.

“Belote worked with 188 of her students to get their thoughts on the features, design, specific pieces of play equipment and even the color schemes they would like to see in their playground,” Miner stressed.  “These ideas were folded into the design, and you see the result in front of you today. So a big vote of thanks to Diane and her students!”

Lynnwood City Council President Shannon Sessions is joined by Council Vice President Julieta Altamirano-Crosby.

Last to speak was Quinn Connell of Utah-based playground equipment and design firm Great Western Recreation, a subsidiary of Playcore, which served as the primary consultant on the project.

“Congratulations to Lynnwood for building the first national demonstration site for the seven principles of inclusive play,” she began.  “These were developed as the result of research-based evidence on what inclusive playgrounds should look like, and the research continues here.  Note the sign with the QR code at the entrance to the play area.  I invite all users to scan the code which takes you to a site where you can provide additional feedback on this facility, and submit your suggestions for how we can make it better.”

The signage adjacent to the playground includes a QR code to provide additional feedback to the designers.

Sordel then returned to the podium, where he drew particular attention to the low maintenance and non-toxic playground surface — a unitary, poured-in-place matrix that meets all ADA requirements — and to the new paved accessible walkway from the parking lot to the playground.

“These are just two examples of our commitment to remove ADA barriers,” he added. “And by providing additional feedback via the QR code on the playground signage, we hope to learn more about inclusive play structures to help meet the needs of our changing community.”

The ribbon is cut, with Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell joined by Edmonds Schools Superintendent Rebecca Miner wielding the scissors.
The merry-go-round is designed to be at ground level for safety and easy access for all.

Sordel then invited officials to come forward for the official ribbon cutting, with Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell and Edmonds School Superintendent Rebecca Miner wielding the ceremonial scissors, after which the waiting group of Meadowdale students took their turn to give a real-world test to the new facility.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel


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