Accelerating accessible play projects

If you are not familiar with the Beyond Accessible Play project,you should be.

This is a group of community members that joined together three years ago in an effort to bring accessible play to the Bremerton and Kitsap region.

What is accessible play you ask?

What an accessible playground provides is the access opportunity where all portions of the space and the equipment within it are able to be entered into or reached by those with physical disabilities. This includes both children and adults who have and use wheelchairs, walkers or other equipment/devices for mobility.

A second component to accessible play is inclusive play. Inclusive play speaks to and provides for the emotional, psychological and social aspects of play. It is a philosophy that children and adults of ALL abilities need to have the ability and opportunity to play together in an equally accessible environment.

What this group of committed Bremerton and Kitsap community members has been able to accomplish in three years is nothing short of astounding. They have taken on a typically bureaucratic environment that in itself is not exactly friendly or accessible to the average person with a capital project idea and not only conquered it, but have educated themselves and others on how to build upon and improve it.

They have blazed the trail and laid the very foundation that other communities will use to organize, obtain and fund raise for their own accessible playgrounds.

Three years is a long time when you are a child and these children have waited long enough for an opportunity that does not currently exist for them.

Construction on the playground and surrounding parking lot improvements will begin this spring and will continue on through Evergreen Rotary Park’s busiest months of use.

I am asking users of the park to be patient and understanding while the construction is going on. This spring and summer would be a great time for the typical park users to try out and explore several of the other parks that Bremerton has to offer.

A complete list of Bremerton City Parks and the amenities or features they have to offer is available through the city website: www.webapp1.ci.bremerton.wa.us/Parks/#map.

Most of the work that will be accomplished on the playground portion of the project will be conducted by volunteers and regional service groups who have not only contributed their labor to this project but also their donated dollars.

Feel free to come on out and give some of your time towards the completion of this worthwhile and special project.

The saying that many hands make lighter work is still true to this day. Many hands and lighter work also make for many a smile on a child’s face the first time they are introduced to a playground that lets them simply be just another kid at play.

Congratulations Beyond Accessible Bremerton. You have accomplished so much and your community is both proud and ready to assist.

Colleen Smidt is a longtime resident of Bremerton and writes weekly about matters of community and political importance to residents in Bremerton.


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