The City of Norman has moved closer toward accomplishing a mission of Building An Inclusive Community with the reveal of the Andrews Park Inclusive Playground design on July 26, coinciding with the commemoration of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“We are excited to bring another inclusive design playground to our community that will be accessible and enjoyable to children of all ability levels,” said Cinthya Allen, Chief Diversity & Equity Officer. “Sharing our vision on this incredibly important day in history – a day that underscores the promise of equal opportunity for all – is very special to us. We want Norman residents and visitors to know inclusivity remains a topmost priority.”
Andrews Park sees thousands of visitors each year and serves as a hub for various community events. The newly planned playground will replace outdated and worn equipment of the current playground; it will be equipped with shade structures, mobility devices, ramps, elevated walkways and play features designed for those with vision impairment and other types of disabilities. The new addition adds to a list of area amenities, such as the Blake Baldwin Skatepark, outdoor artwork, a splash pad and outdoor amphitheater, walking trails, ball fields, and gazebos. The playground also neighbors Norman Central Library, constructed in 2019 and complete with three floors of accessibility features – most recently, hearing loop installation in conference rooms.
“As a community, we are moving past compliance and working to adopt an all-the-time mindset of how we can make neighbors and visitors feel included, welcome and valued,” Allen said.
Parks & Recreation Director Jason Olsen said all-inclusive playgrounds will become the standard for Norman’s City Parks and that the first installation in Ruby Grant Park, completed in 2020, has become a major community attraction.
“Collaborative efforts of the Citizen’s ADA Advisory Committee, Diversity & Equity Office, and Parks board have created new opportunities to identify, address and improve accessibility matters in our parks,” Olsen said.
The project contractor is Playcore dba Gametime, with design by Cunningham Recreation. Work is slated to begin in Fall 2022 and will take 4-6 weeks.