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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 31st, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 35 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 35

Santa Maria raising money for disability inclusive playground

By Kasey Bubnash

With the help of community and corporate donations, Santa Maria–and all of Santa Barbara County–could soon have its first ever all-inclusive playground. 

The Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department announced Oct. 28 plans to partner with the Santa Maria Kiwanis for Kids Foundation in an effort to build a playground that would be accessible and fun for all children and parents, including those with varying disabilities. 


A PLAYGROUND FOR ALL
Santa Maria is working to build its first ever disability inclusive playground in Preisker Park, which would include an intricate ramping system, activities that offer sensory, tactile, and noise stimulation experiences, and a wheelchair accessible swing, among other features.
IMAGE COURTESY OF ALEX POSADA

While all the city's playgrounds meet disability accessibility standards required by law, Recreation and Parks Director Alex Posada told the Sun this would be the first playground to go beyond those requirements and become truly "inclusive." 

Complete with an intricate ramping system, activities that offer sensory, tactile, and noise stimulation experiences, and a wheelchair accessible swing, among other features, Posada said the playground will offer specific activities for everyone. Children with visual, mobile, and hearing impairments will all have specialized equipment to play on, Posada said, and parents with disabilities will be able to interact with their children as well. 

"You can get involved and play with your child as opposed to just watching from the sidelines," Posada said. 

The 560-square-foot playground will be located in Preisker Park, and will cost about $200,000 to purchase and build. 

The Kiwanis for Kids Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for projects that will positively impact local youth, is charged with collecting money for the project, Posada said. Since former Kiwanis President Ryan Maxwell first fully committed to the project about five years ago, the foundation has set aside roughly $45,000 to help fund the playground. 

At the event on Oct. 28, which was held at 1 p.m. in Preisker Park, the city and Kiwanis unveiled their project fundraising plans and goals. Kiwanis hopes to raise $100,000 from community members and business sponsors through outreach and a GoFundMe page, and to finish the project within the next year. 

While the city will likely also contribute some funding, its main responsibilities are to provide park space and coordinate the playground's installation. 

Posada said that other communities in the area are working on similar projects, too. "The need is being recognized throughout the Central Coast." 








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