New accessible playground announced for Germantown Municipal Park

Mockup for new Municipal Playground
Mockup for new Municipal Playground(City of Germantown)
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 4:29 PM CDT

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (WMC) - A new look is in store for Germantown Municipal Park in 2024.

By spring of next year, the park will feature an all-new playground with greater accessibility and features for residents with special needs, City of Germantown officials announced Wednesday.

On Monday, the Board unanimously voted to approve a contract with the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) Inclusive Playground and Facilities Grant in the amount of $489,435.

Germantown was one of seven entities to receive a grant award from the DIDD out of 21 applicants.

The entire cost of the project is grant-funded, allowing the city to give Municipal Playground a complete overhaul, including demolishing the current structure, replacing it with a more immersive and inclusive playground, and adding ADA-compliant pathways to connect the playground to City Hall, Germantown Athletic Club, Germantown Performing Arts Center and The Grove.

“We are grateful for our partnership with the Department of Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, as represented by the grant awarded to the City of Germantown to build an inclusive playground with ADA-accessible pathways at Municipal Park,” Director of Parks and Recreation Natalie Ruffin said. “The playground and its pathways will allow local children and adults with special needs to not only play, but also have access to adjacent cultural and recreational amenities. In Germantown, we value inclusivity in our community and we’re grateful to the DIDD for helping us actualize this value.”

The city will work with Cunningham Recreation to transform the park. Some of the new elements will include the following:

  • Jump-in points and seating will provide areas for children to observe and gain confidence in play.
  • Movement/motion features such as a sensory wave seat, an inclusive spinner with a high-back molded sensory seat with handles, will help children maintain a neutral body position while spinning.
  • A gently gliding, ramp-accessible rock-n-raft will accommodate children of all abilities and seat six as well as room for a person with a mobility device.
  • Musical features such as melody and harmonic chimes help improve confidence, enhance cognitive skills, and reduce anxiety.
  • A roller slide will provide a calming sensory experience and can be incorporated into occupational therapy protocol.
  • A communication board will allow everyone to communicate on the playground. Visitors can use the panel to identify the area or activity they want to experience or describe how they are feeling to their peers. It will include a full English alphabet to spell out specific needs.
  • Shadow Play is an imaginative play activity that will allow children of all abilities to capture the sun’s light and create playful shadows in a rainbow of colors on the ground below.
  • A variety of climbers will meet the needs of a variety of users.

Construction on the new playground and pathways will begin in January 2024 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of spring 2024.

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