A waterfront slice of Charlestown located next to the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is being transformed into a $1.6 million playground that will allow children with disabilities to play alongside other children without anyone knowing the difference.
Plans for the playground call for what is known as inclusive design, an approach to building spaces that all people can access and experience the same way regardless of age or disability. That means no separate accommodations for people who are handicapped.
“You wouldn’t have to choose to go to an accessible playground which may not have all the features that a typical child would want,” says Kristen McCosh, Boston’s commissioner for persons with disabilities. Rather, the plans “incorporate the accessible components into a typical playground so that a family could play together,” McCosh says.
The playground is slated to be built on a 286,875-square-foot lot with views of downtown Boston adjacent to the new Spaulding building, which opened in April. A number of people who were injured in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15 have been treated at Spaulding’s new location.
Equipment being considered for the playground includes integrated swings and a carousel. The carousel has two slots for participants in wheelchairs to ride alongside others, says playground designer Cheri Ruane, who works for Boston-based Spurr, the design studio of engineering consulting firm Weston & Sampson. The swings will also be integrated to combine belted swings, infant buckets, and wheelchair swings, Ruane says.
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