Public input is wanted to help shape the design of a new universally-accessible playground on the beach.
The North Beach Playground project is soliciting public feedback at www.santamonicaparks.org with a brief survey focused on playground use and favorite types of equipment.
Residents that complete the survey have the option to be entered into a raffle to win a family pool pack to the Annenberg Community Beach House, good for entry for up to two adults and two children. The survey will be online until August 16.
According to beach administrator Judith Meister, all of Santa Monica’s playgrounds are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the universally-accessible playgrounds take those ideas a step further.
The accessible sites have transfers to enable physically disabled children to access the equipment, they have additional space around interactive elements to facilitate wheelchair access, they have specially designed equipment to accommodate children of all needs and have space for children who need a quiet space or those that learn through tactile sensation. All the features are designed to be welcoming.
“It’s important that [equipment] enables children to play with each other,” she said. “It’s about enabling children to interact.”
Located on the beach at Montana Avenue, the North Beach playground will be Santa Monica’s second universally-accessible playground. Staff said public input is needed to ensure that the design will meet community needs. Construction of the north beach playground is anticipated to begin in 2016 with completion projected for 2017.
“A mayor’s job is not all work and no play, and Santa Monica’s second universally-accessible playground will allow active outdoor recreation for children of all abilities,” Mayor Kevin McKeown said in a statement. “Places to play, explore, and have fun with friends and families are essential to our children’s health and wellbeing. This new North Beach playground builds on the proven success of our first universally-accessible playground to the south, and makes Santa Monica’s beaches even more welcoming and special.”
Santa Monica’s first universally-accessible playground, South Beach Park, is located at 2400 Barnard Way. Staff said it has been a hit with local families and that the North Beach playground will add to the city’s offerings where there are currently few options.
“We chose Montana Ave. because it will open up opportunities at the north end of the city for playgrounds. People can take the overpass at Montana and come down to the beach,” Meister said.
She said the site allows ample space for construction without having to cross the bike path, it’s located near a parking lot and has restrooms nearby.
Meister added that the city has had a steady focus on accessibility at the beach. In addition to building accessible walkways, the city offers free beach wheelchairs. The wheelchairs, both manual and electric, can be checked out from the 2400 block or 1200 block locations of Perry’s Beach Caf√©.
To take the survey, visit http://www.santamonicaparks.org/north-beach-playground.