Unveiling Inclusive All-Abilities Playground at Murphy-Oakley Community Center - TribPapers

Unveiling Inclusive All-Abilities Playground at Murphy-Oakley Community Center

Murphy Oakley Park. Photo submitted.

Asheville – The Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) department cordially invites residents of all ages to commemorate the unveiling of the city’s inaugural all-abilities playground at the Murphy-Oakley Community Center on Tuesday, June 25 at 1:30 p.m. Following a brief ceremony featuring remarks from APR Director D. Tyrell McGirt, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy delectable treats from Annie B’s Homemade Ice Cream, generously provided by the City of Asheville.

Murphy Oakley Park. Photo submitted.
Murphy Oakley Park. Photo submitted.

The innovative all-abilities playground, a testament to Asheville’s commitment to social inclusivity, is poised to enhance community engagement and foster equitable recreational spaces for individuals of varying abilities. Embodying the ethos of accessibility and playfulness, the playground exemplifies APR’s dedication to ensuring that all Ashevillians have equal opportunities for personal growth and enjoyment.

Designed to cater to the diverse needs of the community, the new playground offers a range of interactive features including slides, climbing structures, swings, musical instruments, and designated cognitive play areas, igniting creativity and promoting wholesome fun for children of all backgrounds. Additionally, a designated “serenity spot” has been integrated into the design, providing a tranquil space for children, caregivers, and parents to step back while remaining engaged with the play environment.

Infused with thoughtful elements to enhance accessibility, the playground features new sidewalks designed for easy navigation by individuals with wheelchairs or limited mobility. Colorful, non-slip rubber surfacing has been incorporated to mitigate potential falls, while a safety fence surrounding the perimeter ensures a secure and autonomous play experience for young visitors exploring the playground.

Acknowledging the diverse needs of community members with physical, cognitive, and sensory challenges, APR’s Therapeutic Recreation (TR) program has found a new home in the inclusive environment of the all-abilities playground. Serving as a transformative space for physical, social-emotional, sensory, and communicative development, the playground embodies a pioneering approach in addressing the distinct requirements of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The construction of this vibrant all-abilities playground stands as a testament to the collective investment made by Asheville residents, who overwhelmingly supported a general obligation bond in 2016 to facilitate comprehensive parks and recreation projects across the city. With a vision to modernize playgrounds and enhance recreational amenities, APR has embarked on a transformative journey to revitalize public spaces and promote community engagement through innovative design and inclusivity.

As Asheville continues to evolve as a vibrant and inclusive city, the unveiling of the all-abilities playground at Murphy-Oakley Community Center heralds a new era of community engagement and recreational opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities. Join Asheville Parks & Recreation in celebrating this milestone initiative, as the city endeavors to create an environment where every individual has the chance to thrive and flourish.