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11-18-21 | Department

Inclusive Destination, Inclusive Park

by Sarah McAfee, Foothills Parks & Operations Coordinator

Completed on August 8, 2019, the 209-acre Clement Park in Littleton, Colorado gave the community a new, all-inclusive accessible park. The playground was renovated under the Jefferson County Open Space grant and the Great Outdoors Colorado equipment grant through the Clement Park Redevelopment Master Plan that was adopted by the Foothills Board of Directors. The playground equipment is from Landscape Structures Inc. while the vendor is Rocky Mountain Recreation Inc.
Inspired by musical notes, this custom sensory overhead ladder gives children of all skill levels the opportunity to play safely. There are large music note sculptures in the background as well.
With the Rocky Mountains sitting on the horizon, Clement Park, under the guidance of community input, gives everyone a place to play and interact with other children. The interactive hillside features roller slides and multiple climbers
Shade sails provide relief from the Colorado elements while children make their way through the accessible playground. The surfacing is a combination of engineered wood fiber, poured in place rubber, and a rolling sensory track made of a combination of material and texture using concrete and stone. There are four main play structures made up of an adventure tower, a three-story tall observation tower, custom trombone climber and a 2 to 5 year-old play structure.
The We-Go-Round, which is an inclusive spinner, allows easy entry by foot or wheels.
This area features accessible musical play elements such as drums, xylophone, Grandioso chimes, and other auditory components.

Welcoming one million visitors annually, Robert F. Clement Park is the most utilized park in Foothills Park & Recreation District in Littleton, Colorado. Known as the "Crown Jewel of the District," Clement Park is a 209-acre regional park, that is enjoyed by people throughout the area because of the mix of amenities including athletic fields, picnic shelters, open play areas, 1.4 miles of trails, 60-acres of lake fishing, tournaments, events, concerts, and a new splash park. The Clement Park Inclusive Playground opened on August 8, 2019.

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The project goal was to provide a renovated and expanded playground and play experience inclusive of all ages and ability levels, while also creating a space that supports daily use by locals, regional visitors, and attendees of varied special events. The theme of the park highlights the art, music, and performance events that occur at the park's nearby Grant Amphitheater. The overall theme of the park also integrates the playground space into the existing park design. The District created a playground for children of all abilities to play alongside their peers - a place to not only have fun but where children can learn from each other through inclusive design.
Part of the planning phase assessed two playgrounds that were closely located to one another. The team decided to eliminate the oldest playground that possessed significant grade changes and poor visibility, lacked ADA compliance, and was underutilized. The playground located near the amphitheater had grown in popularity over the years due to increased park programming and could no longer support the growing capacity needs in its previous configuration. The renovation of Clement Park expanded the play space by 12,570-square-feet to not only be ADA compliant but also be inclusive and better serve the community. Features were selected that promote a unique user experience every time a child plays. The elements of this park cannot be found at other local playgrounds, drawing users from the larger metro area.
Some of these play features include a custom-built interactive trombone climber, boulders, slides with varying heights and materials, an inclusive group spinner, a wide variety of swings, a separate play structure for two through five-year-old children, hillside play elements, and an adventure tower. Integrated topography and elevated features, including an accessible three-level tower and rope bridge are elements not found at many local playgrounds. The new, performing arts-themed design positioned key play features to provide users optimal views of the amphitheater and the Rocky Mountains. Play elements were inspired by a diverse range of musical instruments and multiple sensory/imaginative features, such as a children's performance stage with a backdrop wall that supports non-traditional imaginative play.
This project was community focused, as staff collaborated with the local community on the layout, equipment, and design of the playground. A group of parents studying ways to better advocate for their children with special needs played a role in the planning process as part of a "Parents in Leadership" project, bringing input from more than 70 parents of special needs children. There were also two community open houses hosted by staff and the playground designers to gather additional input from local families and children.
Foothills Park & Recreation District brought together many organizations to help make this project possible. The District received $350,000 in grant funding for equipment from Great Outdoors Colorado and a $4,000,000 grant from Jefferson County Open Space to assist with the playground project and many other improvement projects completed throughout the park in three years.

Filed Under: PARKS, RECREATION, COLORADO, LASN
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