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News / Clark County News

Vancouver playground promises fun for users of all abilities

Ceremony today will mark reopening of Chelsea Anderson Memorial Play Station at Marshall Park, now with accessible features

By Carlos Fuentes, Columbian staff writer
Published: September 9, 2023, 6:04am

More than a year after closing, the Chelsea Anderson Memorial Play Station at Marshall Park is set to reopen this morning as Vancouver’s newest fully accessible playground.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. will celebrate the new firefighter-themed playground with speeches from Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Cowlitz Tribal Elder Tanna Engdahl, state Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, and state Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver.

“We are absolutely excited to see it all come together and to see folks out playing at the park again,” said Melody Burton, marketing manager for Vancouver Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.

The playground is Vancouver’s second fully inclusive playground after the Esther Short Park playground opened this summer.

The 1.5-acre playground includes a large play hill with a double slide, a playable art piece made from a real fire truck, and a sand play area.

The playground includes equipment accessible to wheelchair users or individuals with other disabilities, such as a wheelchair swing, a wheel play area and a sensory garden.

“Integrating nature and inclusive design principles, the playground offers a unique environment that stimulates imagination, creativity and adventure,” a press release states. “The newly designed park will be physically, socially and emotionally inviting for users of all ages and abilities.”

The playground, which was first built in 1999, is dedicated to Chelsea Anderson, a Vancouver girl who drowned in 1996. Anderson was the daughter of a Vancouver Fire Services captain, which inspired the playground’s firefighter theme.

The city worked with Harper’s Playground, a nonprofit that advocates for accessible playgrounds, for the renovation. The nonprofit raised nearly $3.9 million to fund the new materials and equipment.

“We learned a lot from Harper’s Playground. They really are industry leaders in this style of playground,” Burton said. “We’re really excited to be able to share this playground and think about future inclusive playgrounds across the city as well.”

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Columbian staff writer