Legacy Decatur celebrates ribbon cutting for inclusive playgroundPrince Vazquez, 5, the son of Decatur City Commissioner Lesa Mayer (left) and Marigold Beson, 3, (right) test out the new inclusive and accessible playground at Legacy Park in the city of Decatur during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, March 9, 2023. Photo by Dean Hesse.
This story has been updated.
Decatur, GA — Legacy Decatur officially opened its new inclusive playground with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 9.
The project features playscapes and equipment designed for kids of all ages and abilities, which was a priority in the Legacy Park Master Plan. The playground was a popular topic of discussion during the 2018 community visioning process.
“We’re celebrating the completion of another project that was identified in the Legacy Park master plan. In fact, the idea for this playground came from Oakhurst school children who participated in our community visioning process. They asked for a playground that was accessible for all children and was inviting. I think we’ve met those requirements,” Mayor Patti Garrett said.
The playground is located across from Hyatt Cottage at Legacy Park, 500 S. Columbia Drive. There is parking near the cottages as well as near the administration building.
“I would tell folks to enter at the south driveway into the park, turn right onto the main drive and follow it in front of the two brick cottages,” Legacy Decatur Executive Director Lyn Menne told Decaturish.
Legacy Decatur is the organization that oversees Legacy Park. Legacy Park is located on South Columbia Drive and was formerly the United Methodist Children’s Home. Garrett is a member of the Legacy Decatur board, and Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers is the board chair.
The project is being funded through a $145,000 Community Development Block Grant from DeKalb County and the city of Decatur pledged $114,000 in matching funds for a project budget of $259,000.
“This is the first of a number of projects that we have planned throughout this entire property,” Garrett said. “This project also would not have been possible without a community development block grant from DeKalb County’s development department.”
The plans include a bonded rubber play surface for safety and easy access, and a range of play options for children — climbing equipment, slides, monkey bars, tunnels, a group swing, and a variety of sensory play stations, according to a newsletter from Legacy Decatur.
“Inclusive playgrounds, as they’re commonly known, are universally-designed, sensory-rich environments that go beyond minimum accessibility standards to create play experiences accommodating the widest possible array of physical and cognitive abilities,” the newsletter states. “They further allow adults of varying ages and abilities to actively engage with children in their care and serve as multi-generational gathering spaces for community enjoyment, socialization, healthy bodies, and imaginative fun.”
Garrett added that the vision for Legacy Park is continuing to take shape as the city and Legacy Decatur work to make the park an open, accessible and inviting space.
“[A space that] brings together affordable housing, recreation, nonprofit organizations, celebrations of history and natural spaces in a way that nurtures our community and brings people together,” Garrett said.
Powers also noted that benches will be added, and the board will continue to expand the play area and look for other funding opportunities
“On behalf of the Legacy board, I want to say that I’m excited to see another master [plan] project completed off of our list,” Powers said.
Legacy Decatur Executive Director Lyn Menne said a couple of weeks ago, a young kid was at the playground with his dad. The child was on the phone with his grandmother, showing her the playground.
“It was wonderful to see how excited he was,” Menne said. “To see a project come out of the ground and know that people are here playing on it now, it’s exciting. It’s seeing the master plan come to reality.”
Playground Creations is the firm that designed the playground and installed the equipment. Landscape Structures manufactured the equipment.
“We put together a design based off of the goal of having an inclusive playground with bonded rubber surfacing,” said Dustin Graham, a designer with Playground Creations. “We did a couple of revisions after we won the proposal. We put together this system called tree tops because it has a lot of ground-level elements.”
He added that the playground has elements for kids of all ages and even adults. Decatur Commissioner Lesa Mayer was also enjoying playing on the playground with her five-year-old son.
“We’ve got some two-year-old to five-year-old equipment, some five to 12-year-old equipment. The musical equipment, anybody can play on that,” Graham said. “I just went down the slide, so adults can get on it too. The equipment and the layout is for everybody.”
The bonded rubber surfacing is a safe material and is easy on wheelchairs.
“We try to make comfortable, fun, safe spaces for families and kids to spend an hour or two,” Graham said. “Have some fun, but also progressively challenge the kids who are going to keep coming to this park as they grow.”
He loved seeing the project come to life during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“It’s been at least six months in the making,” Graham said. “It’s always great to see your picture, a 3D object in real space.”
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