Bear Branch Park, which opened in 2001, includes the township's only playground designed to be fully inclusive, although all community playgrounds met Americans with Disabilities Act standards at their time of installation, according to township materials.
With the planned enhancements, the hope is the location will have wider accessibility and become a destination, according to the township's parks and recreation director, Chris Nunes, who presented information on the project at the July 28 meeting of the township board of directors.
The renovated playground will include facilities for both children with disabilities and other playground users in the least restrictive environment, he said.
Lonestar Recreation won the bid for the enhanced playground options at $822,671 for a project that will include 51 accessible components and 41 elevated play components, according to Nunes. The budget for the project is $831,104, including $600,000 for the township's 2021 capital improvement budget and the remainder from the 2020 budget.
The inclusive design will allow children with disabilities to play alongside other children, according to Nunes. Elements are designed to engage children with sensory activities as well as motor, cognitive and social skills.
A proposed timeline for the project included in township agenda materials projects the installation of equipment in October and November, and the project will be completed in December.