LivAbility Magazine
Aidan Ringo sits at the new playground equipment which is in all primary colors. He smiles from his wheelchair.

Accessibility Upgrades at Scottsdale’s Chaparral Park

Photo by Johanna Huckeba 

The City of Scottsdale unveiled an upgraded, fully accessible playground at Chaparral Park on Jan. 17, 2018.

The park, located off Hayden Road between McDonald Drive and Chaparral Road, previously met ADA accessibility guidelines. But the new facility has more equipment that children and parents of all ability levels can enjoy. According to the city’s parks and recreation manager Brett Jackson, the park features multisensory interactive experiences such as secure swings that are similar to car seats and enable children to experience the sensation of swinging.

“Just because something’s accessible doesn’t necessarily mean you’re  included,” Jackson said. “Our goal was to be a little bit more inclusive in what we were doing, so that people of all abilities can play next to each other.”

In addition to the new equipment, there will be a separate, place away from noise and distractions for those who become overwhelmed with the stimulus of the park. Wheelchair accessible pathways are located throughout equipment and park structures and allow greater access for people with mobility-related disabilities.

“This sends a strong message that children and family members with disabilities should be included in any kind of programming design that’s considered,” said Erika McFadden, a mother living with cerebral palsy. “Doing this is a visual representation that they care.”

McFadden came to the unveiling ceremony of the playground with her daughter, Pepper. McFadden said she loved the idea that her child, who does not have a disability, will be able to play side-by-side and interact with people that might be a little different than her.

“The only thing is it does have mixed wood chips and, you know, wheelchairs can’t get in there,” McFadden said. “But there is more rubber,” she said, referring to the wheelchair accessible pathways.

Those pathways are what John Beaubien, a father of two, is looking forward to the most.

“I really dig that,” he said.

Beaubien has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair. If there aren’t enough wheelchair pathways, he cannot be near his sons or get to them in case of emergency.

The park is partnering with the Me2 program based on an accessible playground design and will be the first playground in Arizona designated as a National Demonstration site for accessibility practices, Jackson said.