Inclusive playground improvements planned for Bear Branch Park in The Woodlands

A slide from Parks and Recreation Director Chris Nunes' presentation at the July 28 The Woodlands Township board of directors meeting shows progress with Bear Branch Park renovations. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)
A slide from Parks and Recreation Director Chris Nunes' presentation at the July 28 The Woodlands Township board of directors meeting shows progress with Bear Branch Park renovations. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)

A slide from Parks and Recreation Director Chris Nunes' presentation at the July 28 The Woodlands Township board of directors meeting shows progress with Bear Branch Park renovations. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)

Renovations to a township playground will make it more accessible for children with disabilities, including sensory-friendly features, The Woodlands Township officials said.

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.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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