City Officials Announce Plans to Build an Inclusive Playground at Whiteside Park
Mayor G.T. Bynum, Tulsa Parks officials, and community partners gathered this morning to announce plans to build an inclusive playground at Whiteside Park, 4009 S. Pittsburg Ave.
When completed, this new playground will be one of the most inclusive play spaces in the state of Oklahoma.
An inclusive playground is more than wheelchair ramps and accessibility. They are designed with all users in mind and engage children and adults with a wide range of abilities.
“This is one of the projects I am most excited about in the whole city,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “As we seek new ways to build community in Tulsa, children from throughout the region will be able to use this new inclusive playground. I want to thank our community partners, The Burnstein Foundation, for helping us create a park that is accessible for all children, their families, and their friends.”
Well-designed playgrounds support the health and development of the whole child and the whole community.
“Children are constantly learning through play, by making new friends, sharing, taking turns, and interacting with other children,” Anna America, Chief of Culture and Recreation and Parks Director said. “When all children can play side-by-side no matter their background or ability, it creates life lessons and new friendships.”
The Sanford and Irene Burnstein Foundation generously provided $1.2 million in funding for the inclusive playground. Their vision of an adaptive and inclusive playground has been a true partnership with City of Tulsa leaders and key community members. Mrs. Irene Burnstein and her late husband, Sanford (Stan), established their family foundation to share their success with families across Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma.
“Stan and I had a vision that children of all ages and abilities could gather together to play, explore, and learn from one another,” Irene Burnstein said. “My family celebrates this vision with the announcement of the plans for a playground that will bring joy and fun to so many.”
Along with the inclusive playground features, Tulsa Parks will also convert one of the bathrooms inside the community center at Whiteside into a fully accessible family restroom. One key modification will be adding an accessible changing table that is height adjustable, thanks to additional funding provided by the Burnstein Foundation. The city will also install automatic doors, grab bars, and ADA-compliant bathroom fixtures. Not having adequate bathroom facilities is a barrier for families with older children that may need assistance in the restroom. This will allow families and caregivers to enjoy a fun day at the park without having to worry about accessible restroom facilities.
ACS Playground Adventures designed Tulsa’s first all-inclusive playground with the help of inclusive play specialist, Jill Moore. Moore is a wheelchair user who has a background in design. She uses her personal experience to create and design products based on real-life experiences.
“One of my favorite features of this playground is how many play options it has for children who are staying in their mobility devices,” Jill Moore, Inclusive Play Specialist said. “There are also many options for a child’s range of motion, no matter where they are in their sensory development. For children with sensory disabilities, Autism diagnoses, even ADHD and dyslexia, the variety of sensory play in this space provides ample opportunity to seek out what a child’s sensory system is craving.”
Construction on the new playground is slated to begin in early 2023.