Imagine feeling alone, isolated and left out. These emotions are what kids with differing abilities experience when they visit a “typical” playground, unable to play and engage inclusively with their peers due to physical barriers.
To address the disparities and barriers found at playgrounds, the Town of Castle Rock and the Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation are partnering to bring an all-inclusive Possibilities Playground to the community. The universally designed, sensory-rich environment would enable children of all abilities to interact physically, socially and emotionally together at Butterfield Crossing Park.
“Our partnership with the Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation will allow us to transform the park and enhance it beyond what we typically do for repair and replacement,” said Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Jeff Smullen. “We want to create a fully all-inclusive playground because we don’t have this in our parks system, and we want this in Castle Rock.”
Butterfield Crossing Park in The Meadows was constructed more than 30 years ago and has been home to countless swim lessons, youth sports practices and community events over three decades. It is one of several Town parks slated for improvements. The Parks and Recreation Department’s Capital Improvement Plan has identified the need for upgrades, and priorities will focus on addressing general safety and life-cycle replacement.
While the Parks and Recreation Department has the funds to address basic planned renovations, additional resources are needed to transform the playground with fully inclusive structures instead of just a “replacement” playground. The park is central to Castle Rock, which makes it an ideal location for inclusive amenities. To construct the Possibilities Playground, $1.3 million is needed.
Seeing the opportunity and value the Possibilities Playground would bring to the community, the Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation stepped up to lead the fundraising efforts for the playground. The Foundation’s goal is to raise the needed money by fall 2022. Contributions by businesses and individuals are being solicited, and donations are accepted through ColoradoGives at coloradogives.org/possibilitiesplayground.
“We saw the opportunity to run with the idea of adding a much more rich playscape at Butterfield Crossing Park to meet the needs of so many in our community,” said Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation Executive Director Marne Hansen. “We knew we had to help bring the Possibilities Playground to Castle Rock. This is the largest fundraising effort we’ve taken on, and we are thrilled to put our time and efforts into this project!”
The playground will have broad appeal beyond the neighborhood and the Town. Visitation data from inclusive playgrounds nationwide indicates that the disabled population is so extremely underserved when it comes to outdoor recreating opportunities that visitors will travel well beyond the distance of their local neighborhood to see all-encompassing opportunities.
“There’s a misconception that inclusive is just for individuals who have a disability or are different, but it’s really for everyone,” said Parks and Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Ashley Bordenet. “The Possibilities Playground is not about limitations, it’s all about possibilities.”
The proposed Possibilities Playground features will include state-of-the-art accessible swings, spinners and slides; a sensory wall; a two-way zip line ride; multisensory structure with sounds and colorful lights for sensory feedback; swings with wheelchair-accessible bays; two-bay swing with molded bucket seats; two-seated face-to-face swing; inclusive merry-go-round with wheelchair-accessible bay; and outdoor musical instruments.
For more details about the Possibilities Playground, and for information on opportunities to contribute to the project, visit CRgov.com/PossibilitiesPlayground.