Award Winning Canyon Country Park Inclusive Play Area

Reece Wong, age 2, plays on a newly built structure at the inclusive play area in Canyon Country Park Saturday morning while supported by her mother, Stacey Wong. January 25, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

City of Santa Clarita

The City of Santa Clarita is a place where residents of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can come together as one unified community. From after-school programs for students to evening events for seniors to volunteer opportunities to give back to others, opportunities abound for entertainment and enrichment.

One project that embodies the heart and soul of Santa Clarita is the Inclusive Play Area at Canyon Country Park, which opened to the public in January 2020.

Prior to 2020, the City did not have a play area specifically designed for children of all ages and abilities. It is crucial for children with special needs to be able to access a space where kids of all abilities can engage, socialize, learn and play together in a safe and welcoming environment. The City set out to construct an inclusive play area to fulfill this community need.

The Inclusive Play Area at Canyon Country Park is the first of its kind built by the City of Santa Clarita and ensures that people of all ages and abilities have a place where they can grow, explore, imagine, wonder and play together. The Inclusive Play Area is the product of a deliberate and thoughtful process to ensure that the needs of all who use the facility are met.

To solve the challenge of developing an Inclusive Play Area that truly meets the needs of those who would use it most — children in Santa Clarita — the City of Santa Clarita initiated a community planning process to keep residents engaged and involved every step of the way.

Prior to construction in 2019, City staff held a series of public outreach meetings with parents and their children, service providers in Santa Clarita, design consultants and other stakeholders to achieve this goal.

Throughout the process, public input and feedback helped shape the final design of the Inclusive Play Area, including the interactive and sensory activity features.

Community members met to review updated designs and offer suggestions on adding features that would make the park a destination for families throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

These features, which you can experience during your next visit to Canyon Country Park, include a dual-track accessible zip line, an accessible merry-go-round, music and sound amenities, shaded seating areas, a fenced-in playground, wheelchair accessibility throughout the park and a new pet waste station.

If you haven’t been to Canyon Country Park to see the Inclusive Play Area, now is a great time to plan a trip. Located at 17615 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country Park also includes a ball diamond, picnic tables and a second playground on the upper portion of the split-level park, adjacent to Sarita Avenue.

Since it opened more than two years ago, the Inclusive Play Area has grown to be a popular destination for families, drawing parents and their children from throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. The positive public feedback has also led the City to take steps to construct a second Inclusive Play Area, which will be located on the west side of Santa Clarita.

The second inclusive play area will be at West Creek Park, located at 24247 Village Circle in Valencia. Construction is set to begin in Fall 2022 to transform the existing playground into an area full of fun, challenging and engaging activities for all ages.

When complete, the new Inclusive Play Area will measure approximately 10,600 square feet and also have an outdoor community fitness area. A Bankshot Playcourt, which offers basketball hoops at varying heights with non-conventionally shaped and angled backboards, will also be installed.

In March, the City held a hybrid community meeting to review design concepts and solicit input from Santa Clarita families.

Over the next few months, the play area’s design will be refined and finalized to ensure that the finished product is an outdoor play environment that provides physical and social inclusion opportunities for all.

The community spirit, collaborative process and commitment to inclusivity that resulted in the Inclusive Play Area at Canyon Country Park have provided a strong framework that will lead to many more life-changing projects throughout the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond.

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