TAMPA, FL. – Tampa Parks and Recreation is set to break ground this morning on Tampa’s first disability and sensory-friendly playground that is fully funded by the City of Tampa.
The New Tampa All Abilities Playground is set to be a 10,000+ square-foot playground, designed for children with a wide range of physical, cognitive, sensory, and socio-emotional abilities. It also features multiple play pieces that are wheelchair accessible.
“The plans for this playground help ensure that there is something for everyone,” said Sherisha Hills, director of Tampa Parks & Recreation. “We wanted to create an inclusive space to play where kids can enjoy a fun and interactive playground experience.
The New Tampa All Abilities Playground also includes a sensory area geared toward children with autism or other cognitive challenges. This plan is especially meaningful to Councilman Luis Viera.
“As a sibling to a man with intellectual disabilities, I know how important parks like this are,” Councilman Viera said. “Parks like this are more than brick or pavement. They represent inclusion, understanding, and empathy with people like my mother and late father, who raise and care for persons with special needs. This park, the first of its kind here in Tampa fully funded by our City, is a gesture of solidarity to every family out there raising a child with special needs. It is about the City of Tampa taking 20 steps forward so that these families can leap forward 20,000 steps.”
Custom shade structures will be installed to provide more comfort for the children and their families. Kids will also have the security of a rubber play surface when a child falls down.
“This playground will be a new stomping ground for kids of all abilities in our community,” Mayor Jane Castor said. “It will be a place where kids can just be kids and where everyone is included. I’m so proud of the Parks and Recreation team for continuing to build upon an inclusive parks system that can serve as an example for other departments nationwide.
The playground will also be getting a new art mural based on a ‘Fantastic Florida Nature’ theme.