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Calgary home to 10 new inclusive, accessible playgrounds

The city of Calgary said 10 new inclusive and accessible playgrounds are now available for use around the city as of Aug. 3, 2022. Courtesy: City of Calgary

Ten new inclusive and accessible playgrounds have been built throughout Calgary to give kids with diverse needs a place to play.

The playgrounds are a partnership with the City of Calgary, the Parks Foundation of Calgary and the Government of Alberta. The province contributed $4,628,353 in funding through provincial Municipal Stimulus Program (MSP) and Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grants in 2021 to support the 10 projects.

According to a news release, the inclusive playgrounds will cater to many diverse needs and abilities as possible and challenge all children without segregation or stigmatization.

A sensory board at one of the 10 new inclusive and accessible playgrounds now available for use around the city as of Aug. 3, 2022. Courtesy: City of Calgary

The playgrounds are located in Edworthy Park, Elliston Park, Hidden Hut, North Glenmore Park, South Glenmore Park, Ramsay, Sandy Beach, Somerset, Ted Harrison and Vivo.

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The city said many of the playgrounds were fast-tracked due to provincial MSP funds. The 10th and final inclusive playground, located in Somerset, was completed in June.

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“It is unprecedented to build this many new inclusive playgrounds in a few short months,” said Kyle Ripley, director of parks for the City of Calgary.

“The funding we received from the province and the efforts of our partners significantly accelerated the design and construction of these playgrounds. I commend our parks staff for moving quickly to take advantage of these funding opportunities and working with partners like the Parks Foundation to bring these new amenities to Calgarians sooner than expected.”

A communication board at one of the 10 new inclusive and accessible playgrounds now available for use around the city as of Aug. 3, 2022. Courtesy: City of Calgary

The barrier-free playgrounds are designed to give both children at play and their caregivers the ability to move around freely and have features such as directional braille indicator signs to help those who are blind or partially sighted navigate and enjoy the playground.

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The playgrounds also include enclosed or semi-private areas where children can take a break when they are feeling overstimulated.

The city said it aims to have an inclusive play space or recreational opportunity within a 5 kilometre radius of every Calgarian, as part of the council-approved inclusive play spaces implementation plan.

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“MSP was set up to support jobs in Alberta’s communities,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver, in a statement.

“It also allows municipalities to grow and recover from the past two years of economic hardship. These inclusive playground projects support all of these goals, and allow kids of all abilities a chance to play together in a stronger, healthier and more inclusive community.”

The remaining funding for these projects came from a variety of sources including the city’s parks capital budgets, Parks Foundation grants, community-raised funds and other donors. In particular, the Elliston, Ramsay and Ted Harrison inclusive playgrounds received Alberta Government’s CFEP grants.

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