MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — A state grant will bring a new playground for children of all abilities to Ballinger Park.
The state Recreation and Conservation Funding Board awarded the city of Mountlake Terrace $260,300 in federal dollars earlier this week. The city will join others in the county and nation in making a push for more inclusive park facilities.
The ARC of Snohomish County, a nonprofit that offers services to people with physical and developmental disabilities, offered a letter supporting the project.
“Part of what the ARC does is we encourage families to speak out and be a leader,” executive director Shayne Nagel said Friday. “It’s OK to say, ‘Gosh, I’ve got a family of five and one of them can’t go to the park, what can we do to fix this?’”
The actual playground has yet to be designed, said Mountlake Terrace Parks and Recreation director Jeff Betz.
He said the city wants to hear from families in the area before selecting specific equipment for the facility, which is set to open this summer.
“There are a million different playground pieces we can utilize on this,” he said.
In addition to the state grant, the city received $250,000 from the Hazel Miller Foundation for the playground.
Ballinger Park will join others in southern Snohomish County taking part in the national trend of inclusive playgrounds.
Miner’s Corner in Bothell, which opened in 2014, was the county’s first fully accessible park facility.
In Edmonds, a boy with cerebral palsy inspired city leaders to make Seaview Park’s playground more accessible in August.
Seaview won’t be the only accessible park in Edmonds, though. Civic Park, which could open by summer 2021, will include an inclusive playground, among other attractions. The park project got $500,000 from the state Recreation and Conservation Funding Board.
Additionally, the Edmonds School Board voted this month to replace all play chips in the district to those that can be used by students with wheelchairs.
Moving forward, Betz said the city is going to work one playground at a time to make area facilities more accessible.
With a few inclusive playgrounds available in southern Snohomish County, Nagel from the ARC said she hopes to see the trend make it way to the rest of the region.
She doesn’t want the push for inclusion to stop at parks, she said. Movie theaters, community centers and grocery stores are other places she pointed to.
“We want to figure out a way that everybody can be involved,” she said. “If you have a son or daughter with a disability that’s in a wheelchair, how are you going to shop?”