By Lisa Kava
If you are looking for a fun, family-friendly, summer-afternoon activity, head over to the Bloomingdale Playground (Amsterdam and 104th Street) on Wednesday June 29th from 1-4 PM.
Friends of the Bloomingdale Inclusive Park and Playground, the nonprofit that maintains the park and playground, is gearing up for the second “It’s Our Park Day,” a festive event with games and activities for children of all ages and abilities.
The Bloomingdale Playground was renovated in 2019 as part of the 2014 Community Parks Initiative (CPI), a program run by the Parks Department with funding from the former mayor’s office.
Two members of Community Board 7, Rita Genn (former member) and Sheldon Fine, teamed up with Cidalia Costa, a representative from P.S. 145, the public school adjacent to the playground. The three brainstormed and shared ideas about the renovation for years. The idea of inclusivity and accessibility was crucial to them as they wanted to provide a universal design where anyone could use the space.
“The old playground was sad to look at and difficult to use,” Fine told West Side Rag. “Being inclusive embraces children of all different abilities. Inaccessibility is one part of a physical disability.” “We wanted children with disabilities to be able to play alongside typically developing children.” Genn said.
Today, the Bloomingdale playground features basketball hoops in different heights so that children in wheelchairs can play. There are ramps for accessibility throughout, and restrooms are ADA compliant. There is even an ADA complaint swing. The playground is equipped with circular water sprays that spray low to the ground.
The renovation project considered the needs of adults as well. Benches are arranged in a circular design so adults can socialize with one another. There is also a fitness area just for adults.
Genn, Fine and Costa, the three co-directors of “Friends of the Bloomingdale Inclusive Park and Playground” are passionate about and dedicated to making sure the playground remains a place where all who visit feel welcome and can enjoy.
“It’s Our Park Day” is one way they hope to further their mission. The event will feature a variety of games and activities such as composting coloring book giveaways, garden art activities, wheelchair basketball, and frisbee with Brad Keller of Discabilities and Project HAPPY. “It’s Our Park Day” is free and open to the public.
“We are thrilled to host our 2022 “It’s Our Park Day” at the Bloomingdale Inclusive Park and Playground where children of all abilities can play together. We welcome everyone in the community to join us. Come play with your friends and meet new ones!” Genn, Fine and Costa wrote to West Side Rag.
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