Bill Miranda: A welcoming environment at the new inclusive play area

Santa Clarita City Councilman Bill Miranda

The city of Santa Clarita is a wonderful place to live because it is a community that supports each and every one of its residents. From adaptive programming offered by the city’s Recreation and Community Services Department to residents committing to shop local for the holidays, to nonprofit organizations coming together to provide resources for those in need, Santa Clarita is made stronger by each and every one of us.

One project that speaks to the character of Santa Clarita is the brand-new Inclusive play area at Canyon Country Park. This play area, which is the first of its kind built by the city of Santa Clarita, shows that our community values all residents, and it will ensure people of all ages and abilities can have meaningful play experiences.

It is my pleasure to share with you what makes this new play area unique.

The inclusive play area was designed according to the “7 Principles of Inclusive Design,” which was developed in partnership with Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. Its western theme ties into the rich history of our great city, and I am proud to say that this project wouldn’t be what it is without the direct input from the community.

Earlier this year, city staff held a series of public outreach meetings, which allowed attendees to learn about the project, speak with consultants and offer feedback on proposed play elements. Based on this feedback, a revised design was submitted that incorporated a number of public suggestions, including interactive and sensory activity features.

The city is thankful to the parents, children, agency representatives, service providers, park users, community members and Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) commissioners who dedicated their time to help ensure the inclusive play area is the best it can be. The result is a playground that creates an embracing experience for all users and provides opportunities for physical, cognitive, communicative, social, emotional and sensory development.

Be sure to mark your calendars for a community event at Canyon Country Park to celebrate the new inclusive play area! This event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon. The city will publish more information about this event in the coming weeks.

Until then, I would like to share with you some of the exciting play elements that you will find at Canyon Country Park. A new “Merry-Go-All” will enable multiple children to work together to go for a whirl. A two-track zip line will give children the feeling of flight across the playground. The zip line includes a Zero-G seat for users who may need additional body support and a steel disc seat that allows for parallel play.

Users of all abilities will enjoy four types of swings and four types of slides, including an adaptive swing, accessible arch swing and a roller slide that can be incorporated into an occupational therapy plan. The slide is also constructed entirely of steel and aluminum, which is ideal for children with cochlear implants.

A number of sensory elements are also available throughout the play area. A variety of instruments enable kids to create a fun musical environment while they play and the accessible design of the play area ensures everyone will have access to each element.

The next time you are in the area, I encourage you to stop by Canyon Country Park to see the new inclusive play area. I hope to see you and your children at the park on Jan. 25 for the celebration!

Bill Miranda is the mayor pro tem of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].

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