Color & Control:

Park designed for disabled kids planned in Santa Cruz County


An inclusive park designed for all children –including kids with special needs–would be a first for the county.

Oliver, 4, wheels around with his twin sisters, 9-year-old Lauren and Evelyn, but finds it tough to keep up at most parks, said his mother, Tricia Potts.

“He realized he was getting stuck on the sidelines when he went to a playground and he wasn’t able to play with his sisters. It was very frustrating,” Potts said.

When Oliver’s parents visited Tatum’s Garden, an inclusive playground in Salinas, they were inspired to create one just like it for Santa Cruz County.

“We were there opening day, and the second we walked onto that playground, we just knew we had to do something in our community,” Potts said.

The Santa Cruz Playground Project was formed and focused on Chanticleer Park as an ideal site.

“We don’t have anything like this in Santa Cruz County. It’s an exciting project. It was a grassroots effort where a neighborhood association got together with a concerned mother,” said Jeff Gaffney, Director of Santa Cruz County Parks and Recreation.

Becky Taylor, who has cerebral palsy, says no longer will children with disabilities feel isolated during playtime.

“I think there’s a playground like this would help bring parents and children together and make them feel less isolated,” said Taylor, who is a member of the Santa Cruz County Commission On Disabilities.

In the near future, they plan to get input from the community about the park’s design, and will need to donations to help build it.

The inclusive design will not have any impact on the dog park, community garden, or pump track that are already located there.


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