Making fun accessible

Play for All at Raab Park is a community effort to build a fully inclusive playground in North Kitsap County.

Imagine the pain felt by a disabled child or adult who sees other children enjoying a playground full of equipment they can’t use. Or a parent or grandparent who can’t play with family members because of their own special needs. Children and adults with disabilities often face limitations—but that shouldn’t happen at a playground. 

An ideal playground has something for everyone and offers ways for people of all ages to challenge themselves physically, mentally, and socially.

Since 2018, a citizen group has been working to build a fully inclusive and ADA-compliant playground in North Kitsap. The group forged early partnerships with the City of Poulsbo’s Parks & Recreation Department and the Poulsbo Rotary Club, which took it on as a club project.


Play matters!

Today, there is no fully inclusive playground in North Kitsap.

That means a child, teenager, or adult with disabilities may have no chance to swing or slide, and then move to the merry-go-round or teeter-totter. Parents with disabilities often sit on the sidelines because they can’t easily access the equipment to join in with their children.

This is particularly concerning given the critical importance of play in childhood development. Recent studies have shown that the act of play helps children develop complex language skills, symbolic thinking, motor skills development, and social skills. Play is so important to optimal child development that the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has recognized it as a right of every child. Free play leads to higher self-esteem. These benefits have been noted in all children, so our playgrounds need to accommodate all members of our community.

Playgrounds are social hubs for people of all ages, and they’re particularly important meeting places for families with disabilities who can struggle to find a space where they can be part of the community. A recent study on physical and developmental disabilities found that 53% of children with disabilities spend fewer than two hours a week with their peers outside of class.

A fully inclusive playground can change that!

The shape of things to come

Raab Park has a small, existing playground that is not ADA compliant.

The goal of this project is to incorporate the existing play structures into the new design. No play equipment will be removed, but 7-9 new pieces of equipment and numerous sensory experience stations will be added, all of which are designed to accommodate physical disabilities and provide a sensory-rich experience. Overall, the footprint of the playground will expand by 9,000 square feet.

Susan Murray, PLA, a Senior Associate at Studio Hanson Roberts, is leading the design team with significant input from the community. The new playground will also include a sensory garden, full of things to smell and feel, as well as a variety of interactive panels that encourage exploration through sight, touch, and sound.

The importance of playgrounds isn’t limited to children. Young people and adults with disabilities receive the same benefits of sensory input, physical play, engagement, and community and relationship building.


“My daughters love to swing—and I love to see them getting so much joy. But the long drive to the nearest fully inclusive playground makes it almost impossible for us to go very often. A park in Poulsbo would be meaningful to so many families.”


Timeline

Select Equipment SupplierWinter 2020
Complete FundraisingSpring 2021
Install Playground EquipmentSummer 2021

Preliminary Costs

We are grateful for the inkind contributions that have made the site at Raab Park ready for this new equipment.

Playground Equipment & Surfacing52%
Architecture, Engineering & Construction48%
TOTAL$800,000


The Plan

Raab Park has a small, existing playground that is not ADA compliant.

No play equipment will be removed with this project, but 7–9 new pieces of equipment and numerous sensory experience stations will be added.

Surfaces and spacing between equipment will be wheelchair friendly.

Overall, the footprint of the playground will expand by 9,000 square feet.

Susan Murray, PLA, a Senior Associate at Studio Hanson Roberts, is leading the design team with significant input from the community.


A perfect partnership

The Poulsbo Rotary Club has been performing community service in Poulsbo and surrounding North Kitsap County since 1976. Through monetary giving and boots-on-the ground efforts, the club supports the Rotary International goal of uniting and taking action to create lasting change.

KCF is committed to improving life and connecting people who care with causes that matter. KCF’s resources make it easier to match non-profits to a donor’s favorite philanthropic interest, enabling Kitsap County residents to achieve far more than they could by themselves.

Known as “Little Norway,” Poulsbo is located on lovely Liberty Bay in Kitsap County, Washington. With its picturesque downtown, boardwalk, public festivals and activities, and beautiful parks, Poulsbo is a thriving, engaged community that offers much to citizens and guests alike.


You can make a difference!

Your support of the Play for All project makes our community a better place.

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