Sunday, March 8, 2009

Robert's Park a Model of universal design

Every week I try to post info about a local outing that is friendly to families like ours that have typical and disabled kids. 

Robert's Regional Park in Oakland, California is worth a field trip, even if you are out of the immediate area. Rosemary Cameron of EBRP told me about the new play structure at Robert's while we were discussing accessibility issues during a frustrating visit to Black Diamond mines (not accessible, once you get out of your car in the handicapped space in the parking lot.)

But I went over to Robert's this morning on a reconnaissance visit on her recommendation and as I stood at the top with my daughter's service dog, I got choked up. Seriously, I was embarrassed to have tears in my eyes. But there it was. 

If you, like we, have been to so many places and had to sit with your disabled child on the sidelines and watch others run off to play, you might too. 

The structure is built on the hill and there is a long graded approach to the area. The whole thing has deep rubber mats below and full ramp access to the top. Accessible slides and a modified climbing wall. All the signs have Braille and inscribed alphabet signs and can be read by touch. There is even a cradle swing for big kids. If you want to spend the day, there are picnic grounds. The pool is accessible as well, according to Rosemary, though it was closed while I was there. 

All I can say is thank you EBRP! This park is a model for the nation. If you want to play, you should go. If you want to see how all parks should be built, you should go. If you are a superintendent or a board member, please go. Landscape architect? Go. Park Board member? 

Well, you get my point. 

That's where we are getting ready to go, right now.