First Inclusive Playground in Suffolk, Virginia

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This is a Place for Everyone

That message was loud and clear when people gathered for the ribbon-cutting of Kids Zone Community Playground at Lake Meade Park in Suffolk, Virginia. The playground was designed using the guidelines found in Me2: 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design and is a National Demonstration Site for Inclusive Play, the first of its kind in the city of Suffolk. Made possible, in part, by funding from the Obici Healthcare Foundation and a statewide funding initiative created by the Virginia Recreation Parks Society in partnership with GameTime, the new play space exceeds the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and creates a truly inclusive place for people of all ages and abilities.

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CBS Affiliate WTKR reports on the opening of the new inclusive playground at Lake Meade Park


Gregg Dollings, Cunningham Recreation's Central and Southeastern Virginia, told attendees during the ceremony this playground is a place for people of all ages and abilities. "The surfacing is made of soft rubber to make it easy to get around every part of the playground. The ramps are really wide for wheelchair access, and the spinning merry-go-round is designed to make it easier for children to get from their wheelchairs into the merry-go-round seats." Dollings also talked about bringing parents into the play activities. "We included two 'Expression Swings' for parents and children to swing together, face-to-face. Research tells us when a parent and a child’s eyes meet, particularly during play, there is an intense and significant moment of emotional bonding that occurs. Scientists call this ‘attunement’ and it enhances the social, emotional and cognitive well-being of both children and adults.”

Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson cut the ribbon at the new playground and remarked, "This new play environment is designed to serve the physical, social, sensory, cognitive and emotional needs of children of all abilities in our community. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity for social interaction and the development of understanding, acceptance and the building of common ground between children with disabilities and those without.”

Learn more about GameTime's commitment to inclusive play or contact a Michele at Cunningham Recreation at 800-438-2780, ext. 200 to bring one of these to your community.