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NEWS ITEMS


Accessible Playgrounds
Detail: The town of Westford in Massachusetts is receiving its first Boundless Playground to accommodate youngsters with a range of physical abilities. Steve and Stephanie McElligott launched the effort to build this accessible playground in the memory of their young son Ronan McElligott after whom this playground is named. There is such a playground planned for the town of Beverly as well. Boston’s first Boundless Playground opened this spring at Harambee Park in Dorchester. Before that the closest one was in Cape Cod.

A Boundless Playground offers not just access ramps and surfaces suitable for wheelchairs, but also swings and bouncers with additional back support for children who need it. There are activity panels designed to support child development and teach skills such as math, science, Braille, and cause-and-effect, gathering areas to help children develop social skills, and cozy spaces for a child to find a quiet spot.

Boundless Playgrounds Inc. is a Connecticut-based nonprofit corporation that has worked with communities nationwide to provide design support and other services on inclusive playgrounds for children of all abilities. There are also smaller corporations as well. The group's website, www.boundlessplaygrounds.org, notes there are more than 150 of its playgrounds in 28 states and two Canadian provinces, with its Massachusetts list citing facilities in Dennis, Fairhaven, Longmeadow, New Bedford, and Pittsfield.

Dina Morris, a spokeswoman for Boundless Playgrounds, said its equipment is also accessible for grandparents or others with disabilities who might want to take children to the park. “Really, the concept is for everybody to be together and able to play on the playground,'' she said.
Source: Based on a story by David Rattigan, The Boston Globe, The Boston Globe, Thursday, September 17 2009
Date: October 27 2009