By Zach Hagadone
Sandpoint area residents are invited to attend an “Inclusive Play Presentation and Playground Tour,” set for Tuesday, May 16 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., hosted by the city of Sandpoint and featuring a presentation by inclusive play specialist Jill Moore, of Landscape Structures Inc.
Following Moore’s presentation, the tour will take place at the existing Travers Park playground (2102 Pine St.), where the city is planning to design and build a new play facility with features intended to meet the needs of children regardless of their physical abilities.
Sandpoint Parks Planning and Development Manager Maeve Nevins-Lavtar presented the inclusive playground concept in November 2022, telling the City Council at the time that while all every improvement on public property must adhere to federal Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, “inclusive design is above and beyond ADA.”
The new playground project is part of an ambitious overhaul of Travers Park, which includes the $7.5 million James E. Russell Sports Center as its centerpiece, alongside an expanded skatepark and bicycle pump track.
Plans to replace the current playground, which the city built in 2011, have spurred some pushback on the cost — $500,000 from a state grant and $500,000 in matching funds from the city — as well as the necessity and location, with opposition focused on whether the existing playground could be improved rather than replaced, and displeasure with the sports center being constructed on the site of the current playset.
City officials have repeated that while the playground had been compliant with ADA upon construction 12 years ago, it no longer meets the standards — let alone considered “inclusive.”
The May 16 event will begin at 11 a.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall (1123 Lake St.) with a presentation by Moore, which “will provide community members with an opportunity to learn how inclusive playground designs can meet the unique needs of all children. Attendees will learn about the range of disabilities of playground users, and tips and strategies will be provided on how to make small to major changes in play spaces to make playgrounds not just welcoming, but engaging, challenging and therapeutic,” according to the city.
Moore has served as an inclusive play specialist with Landscape Structures since 2017, with the goal of incorporating disability inclusion into playground product development and design practices. She has also represented Team USA as a multi-sport athlete, emphasizing the importance of equitable access to opportunities for play.
“With a specific focus on merging lived experience with universal design principles, Jill promotes and educates on integrating inclusion in play, and bringing people with disabilities into the conversation,” the city stated.
Lunch will be provided for in-person attendees that RSVP for the presentation in advance — courtesy of PlayCreation, Inc., which is sponsoring the event — and a virtual meeting link is optional for the presentation portion of the event.
To attend in person and get a free lunch, email [email protected] and add “RSVP PLAY” in the subject line. RSVP by Saturday, May 13 at 5 p.m. for guaranteed lunch, as space is limited.
To attend virtually via Zoom, register for the meeting at sandpointidaho.gov/your-government/meetings.
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