The Parks and Recreation Department was recently awarded $100,000 of matching funds from PlayCore and GameTime to install a new inclusive playground at Mammoth Creek Park. The playground will be the first truly inclusive playground incorporating research-based, best practices in Eastern California and will also serve as a National Demonstration Site (NDS).
Stephanie Stephens, California Parks and Recreation Society (CPRS) Executive Director, notified Parks and Recreation Director Stuart Brown on September 18 that the Statewide Healthy Play Funding Initiative application submitted by the Town was selected to install a pre-approved play and recreation project in Mammoth Lakes. Funding was awarded to projects in the five CPRS regions, including Region 3, where Mammoth Lakes received one of three awards.
“The Parks and Recreation Department is thrilled to be a recipient of this prestigious grant, but more importantly, we are ecstatic to deliver a fully inclusive National Demonstration Site playground for the community of Mammoth Lakes. The new playground will unite children, families and community citizens through the power of play,” stated Stuart Brown, Parks and Recreation Director.
The new, inclusive 7,000 square-foot playground is part of The Park project at Mammoth Creek Park. The project includes five major components: a natural play area, an inclusive playground, community center, RecZone and Olympic-size ice rink. These complementary components are designed to work with existing park features, and combined with community-driven and professional programming will promote a degree of excitement, individual expression, exploration, pleasure, challenge and accomplishment leading to an enhanced quality of life.
“This was a community-wide effort with so many people and organizations contributing their time and passion to bring this new inclusive playground project to fruition,” stated Recreation Commission Chair, Betsy Truax. “Being able to include testimony from our community partners is what made us truly competitive for the grant. I really appreciate all of their support and we are honored to implement this project for the community.”
The new inclusive playground will incorporate seven principles of design: Be Fair, Be Included, Be Smart, Be Independent, Be Safe, Be Active and Be Comfortable. These principles provide opportunities for the physical, social-emotional, sensory, cognitive, and communicative benefits of play for all.
The Town would like to recognize the following individuals and organizations who donated their valuable time and energy as part of the 2014 “Plan Your Parks” process to develop conceptual master plans for four of the Town’s parks that identified the community need for an inclusive playground.
Resident Mike Ramirez was the greatest proponent and catalyst for an inclusive playground in Mammoth Lakes. Mike was determined to build a playground where his daughter Marlowe, who had been recently diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic mutation that makes it impossible for her to walk, crawl, sit up independently, or speak, could play and interact with all children. Mike advocated that inclusion is about providing all people, regardless of ability or age, with equal opportunities to participate fully in a play environment in a mutually beneficial and respectful way.
Patty Stump an Early Intervention Specialist and Diann Bitzberger a children's Services Nurse worked with Mike and Marlowe and both saw the value and benefit of an inclusive playground in Mammoth Lakes. Staff also appreciate the following organizations who understand that playgrounds are the gateway to playful, healthy and active lifestyles, critical in combating the many challenges we face as a community: The Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation, Night and Day Pediatrics, First 5 Mono County, California Children’s Services, Mono County Office of Education, Inyo–Mono Association for the Handicapped, Kern Regional Center, Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra and the Mammoth Elementary Husky Club.
Town staff have scheduled a community workshop for interested users or organizations on Monday, October 16, 2017 at 5:30pm in the Council Chambers (Suite Z), Minaret Village Mall to review and finalize the playground design/theme, affirm the inclusive components, surfacing, shade and required site work/grading. Please RSVP to Lauren Plum at (760) 965-3699 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s all recreation – all the time with the Town of Mammoth Lakes Parks and Recreation Department!