“Building inclusive playgrounds at these sites provides the best opportunities to create greater access to play for people of all abilities,” Burton said.
Black ornamental fencing and Victorian pickets and rails will be featured in the new playground — a reference to the location’s historic aesthetic. Climbing roses on trellises make a connection to the park’s rose gardens, and its new boulder scramble will look similar to the water feature at Propstra Square. The new adaptive equipment — a seesaw, merry-go-round, climbing set and swings — is made for all bodies.
According to conceptual designs, the new Esther Short playground is extended toward West Eighth Street to include some of the park’s mature trees in its layout, making the play area slightly larger than it was before. It cost about $800,000, using funds collected from developers during the Vancouver Waterfront Park project, Burton said.
Replacing old restrooms with new facilities — like those at the Waterfront — will cost an additional $1 million. It’s funded by a combination of Real Estate Excise Tax, park impact fees and donations.
Plans to establish new community parks are underway and in the early planning phase; once the projects progress, there will be a public engagement period to develop design concepts and, eventually, a master plan.
Vancouver’s partner, Harper’s Playground, introduced a vision to make the city’s parks inviting for people of all ages regardless of their physical abilities. Future playgrounds will now be shaped through an accessibility lens to make them available to people who use mobility aids, Burton said.
Roosevelt Elementary School and Hazel Dell’s future Ruth Bader Ginsburg Elementary School are also expected to have inclusive play areas designed by the nonprofit.