In recent years, the City of Campbell has turned its attention towards enhancing its recreational spaces. More precisely, the focus has been on developing all-inclusive playgrounds that cater to the needs of every individual, irrespective of their age or abilities. The exemplar of this initiative is the recently renovated playground at John D. Morgan Park.
Understanding the Need for Inclusive Playgrounds
It was back in 2017 when the City Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) conducted study sessions and realized that many of Campbell’s parks needed renovation. They were approaching the end of their design lives, and the time had come to rethink these spaces.
The unanimous decision was to make these parks serve the needs of all demographics. They wanted to create spaces that weren’t just for play, but places where people could gather, socialize, and form lasting community bonds. To fund these ambitious projects, they sought external sources such as grants.
The Role of the All-Inclusive Playground Grant Program (AIPG)
In the same year, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara established the All-Inclusive Playground Grant Program (AIPG). This initiative aimed at providing grants to local agencies and non-profit organizations interested in developing all-inclusive playgrounds in their communities.
The AIPG-funded playgrounds had to meet specific criteria, including catering to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Challenges, Visual and Auditory Impairments, Cognitive, Developmental and Physical Disabilities, and even medically fragile individuals.
The Birth of the John D. Morgan Park Improvement Project
In March 2018, the City Council adopted a resolution, authorizing the Public Works Director to submit an AIPG application to the County of Santa Clara. The project in question was the John D. Morgan Park (Budd Avenue) Improvement Project.
The City committed to allocating $1M in a local match to receive the $1M in AIPG funds. In total, the project had a budget of $2M. In November the same year, the City was awarded the $1M from AIPG and entered into a grant agreement with the County of Santa Clara.
The Project Overview
The project aimed to completely remodel the existing southern play area, adjacent to Budd Avenue into a destination all-inclusive playground. This play area spans approximately 1 acre and includes picnic spaces, play structures, swings, drinking fountains, ADA restrooms, ADA parking, and gently sloping grass berms.
The goal was to create a park facility that catered to seniors, children, and parents of all abilities, aligning with the message, “Parks Make Life Better”.
“It will provide play areas for residents of all abilities, including those with mobility challenges, autism spectrum disorders, sensory challenges, visual and auditory impairments, cognitive disabilities, developmental disabilities, and medically fragile conditions.” – Santa Clara County Supervisor
The Grand Opening
Fast forward to December 2021, and the dream turned into reality. The playground was open for play on December 10th, and a dedication ceremony was held on December 16th.
The John D. Morgan Park now stands as a testament to the City’s commitment to inclusivity and wellness. Not only does it provide a safe, engaging, and accessible space for play, but it also serves as a hub for community gatherings and social interaction.
The journey of the John D. Morgan Park is a shining example of how cities can transform their recreational spaces to cater to the needs of all demographics. Inclusive playgrounds like these not only provide a safe and fun environment for children of all abilities but also serve as a communal space that fosters social interaction and community bonding.
As the City of Campbell continues to renovate its parks, one can only expect more such inclusive spaces to spring up, making the city a more welcoming place for everyone.