Bear Branch Park, located at 5200 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, closed for renovations Nov. 29 and will reopen April 1 as an inclusive playground, according to a news release from The Woodlands Township.
The entire play structure and rubber surfacing at the park will be removed and redesigned, and the new playground is expected to have multiple elevated play structures with ramps, an accessible merry-go-round, five swing options and two playhouses, and multiple elements include specific designs to engage sensory systems and motor, cognitive and social skills, according to the release.
As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, the budget for the project is roughly $831,000, including $600,000 from the township's 2021 capital improvement budget and the remainder from the 2020 budget.
The primary pathway between the recreation center, park swings and playground will remain open during construction. Entry to the tennis courts, skate park, multipurpose court or pathway to the Alden Woods neighborhood will not be affected.
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.
The new playground will implement additional elements that allow individuals with and without disabilities to access the playground. According to the release, individuals with disabilities related to visual, intellectual and physical differences as well as autism will have elements and play features that better embrace their needs.
Vanessa Holt contributed to this report.