Where is the All-Abilities Playground located?
“Silver Summit: A Playground for Everyone” lies in the heart of Missoula, Montana. Its downtown location and wonderful amenities are among the most accessible in our state! McCormick Park contains Currents Aquatic Center, a state-of-the-art indoor aquatic facility, Silver’s Lagoon, a wheelchair-accessible children’s fishing pond, baseball diamonds, and MoBASH Skate Park. Additionally, the playground site lies in close proximity to abundant parking, ADA-compliant, full-service family restrooms, and accessible riverside trails. McCormick Park is home to numerous special events, summer- and after-school programs due to its location, accessibility and recreational features. The annual Fall Family Fest attracts over 1000 people each year to celebrate the changing season. Parks and Recreation is committed to continuing and expanding special events, camps and after-school programs to provide inclusive recreational and educational opportunities at McCormick Park and the All-Abilities Playground.
When did the Playground Project begin?
Families began discussing raising funds to add adaptive swings to Missoula playgrounds in 2011. Following discussion with kids, community members and Missoula Parks & Recreation, a consensus emerged that it was time for MIssoula to lead the way and create Montana’s first, large-scale, universally accessible playground!
Fundraising began in early 2012. Focus groups were conducted with kids using wheeled mobility, kids on the autism spectrum, and youth with a variety of disabilities. Kids with vision impairment helped choose the color scheme. Landscape architect David Shaw of Missoula Parks & Recreation created a concept based on the priorities that emerged from the focus groups.
In July 2012 we held our All-Abilities Baseball Game fundraiser in Missoula’s minor league stadium – we were blown away when the kids’ pledges and sponsorships raised over $50,000! We knew we were off and running. Major donations from the Morris and Helen Silver Family Foundation and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation helped us raise over $680,000 for Phase I (play equipment, rubberized surfacing, and the Sensory Retreat), along with generous donations from local businesses, foundations, service groups, individuals, and the construction industry.
We have already begun raising $100,000 for Phase II, which will add features requested by the kids in our focus groups: an enchanted garden, tactile play features, a mosaic mural, and loose parts toys. We aim to complete Phase II in 2015, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act!
Sounds wonderful! How can I help?
Thanks for asking! Please join the FUN and consider donating today! You can also get involved by volunteering your time to help with fundraisers, grant writing, attending a monthly playground meeting or simply by spreading the word. Have a question not listed here? Please feel free to contact us!