Springs gets first ‘universally accessible’ playground

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The Pikes Peak region’s first public handicapped-accessible playground will open May 22 at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs.

A dedication ceremony is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the playground, which is at the southwest corner of the park.

The $937, 000 playground was built through a partnership between the city’s  Trails, Open Space and Parks, or TOPS, program and a local nonprofit, The Swing High Project.

Swing High’s founder, Olympic medal-winning gymnast Michelle Dusserre-Farrell, has a daughter with spina bifida.

“I’m thrilled that after four years of hard work with the support of the community and city that we can finally open our doors to kids of all abilities to simply have a day to play at the park and on the playground without barriers,” Dusserre-Farrell said.

Swing High and the city spent two years raising money.

Typically, universally accessible playgrounds are more expensive than traditional playground equipment because of the extensive ramping systems and rubber play surfacing.

Funding partners include:

The voter-approved TOPS program, $400,000

Great Outdoors Colorado, $200,000

Developer parkland dedication fees, $150,000

Phil Long Community Grant and Broncos Charities, $110,000

Gates Family Foundation, $25,000

El Pomar Foundation ,$10,000

King Soopers, $10,000

Aerials Gymnastics, $10,000, and

Swing High Project donors, $22,000.

Memorial Park is one of 13 parks that will receive full maintenance and irrigation this season.

For more information visit the Swing High Project’s website.