The Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation is joining forces with the Town of Castle Rock’s Parks and Recreation Department to maximize already planned renovation work at Butterfield Crossing Park. Survey results from the planning phase of this renovation project demonstrated a collectively strong desire to create a more inclusive playground and shared community space.
The decade-old nonprofit has been fundraising all year in order to provide Douglas County’s first fully inclusive playground. The Seniors’ Council of Douglas County also came forward to encourage the addition of a fit-course with equipment added to better serve active seniors. Instead of just a “replacement” playground, the foundation is hoping to use the project’s timing as an opportunity to enhance the park beyond renovation work to add the inclusive “Possibilities Playground” and other inclusive amenities. They have set a goal of raising $1.3 million and have established an online Possibilities Playground fundraising donation site through the Colorado Gives platform.
So what does inclusion at a park mean? It means creating spaces that people of all abilities can use, including kids, adults and seniors. Especially for our children and our senior population, parks and playgrounds are one of the most important environments they have. Playing and movement is important for so many reasons, providing opportunities for physical exercise, balance, dexterity, mobility, coordination, social skills, confidence, imagination, fresh air and sunshine!
Currently, approximately 10% of Castle Rock residents have different physical needs and are not able to fully access these benefits at our playgrounds. In the Possibilities Playground, many of the elements have a “zero-entry” or flat surface entry to accommodate a chair or walking sticks. Having harnesses on dynamic equipment like swings and zipping elements will allow more people to play for health. For the Fit-Ground, the park planners listened to the desires of the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County and will be adding low-impact cardio equipment to improve strength, coordination, balance and flexibility.
Aside from the direct benefits to the families that live here, the renovations and additions can be a strategic boost for the Douglas County community. Playgrounds that truly welcome everyone will attract visitors to the area. In 2020, the Open Doors Organization reported that from 2018-2019, American adults with disabilities spent $58.7 billion on their own travel (up from $34.6 billion in 2015). It is reasonable to assume that families with people with differing abilities would be willing to travel as well, especially to a destination with attractions like Possibilities Playground and the Fit-Ground with equipment catering to the active senior population here in Douglas County.
Marne Hansen is the executive director of the Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation, whose mission it is to enhance the outdoor spaces and recreational opportunities that make Castle Rock unique. To learn more contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is hosted by the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County. Please join us for our next presentation Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. at the Castle Rock Millhouse, 1375 W. Plum Creek Parkway in Castle Rock. Marne Hansen, the executive director of Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation, and Seniors’ Council Chair Gretchen Lopez will introduce plans for the new intergenerational and accessible new Possibilities Playground coming to Castle Rock. For more information, visit www.douglas.co.us/community-services, email DCSeniorLife@douglas.co.us or call 303-663-7681.