The City of North Charleston’s newest planned, fully inclusive playground has been selected as a National Demonstration Site by PlayCore’s Center for Outreach, Research, and Education. Made possible through an initiative by GameTime (a PlayCore Company) and the SC Recreation and Parks Association, the City’s new playground project is one of only eight sites selected from applicants across the state. Situated in Oak Terrace Preserve near North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary, the proposed inclusive playground qualified for two of five potential designations (7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design® and Play On!® Promoting Physical Activity) and will serve as a blueprint for other playground designs through its promotion of inclusivity and youth fitness through play.
As stated on PlayCore’s website, the National Demonstration Site Network is “an important effort for raising national awareness and helping local communities share the positive impact they are making on community health and wellness. The initiative serves as an exclusive opportunity to participate in ongoing data collection and receive a complete research findings report on your community’s vitality. National Demonstration Sites illustrate community vitality across a variety of influences, including social-emotional, environmental, health, community engagement, public services, and educational opportunities.”
In addition to recognition as a National Demonstration Site and the associated research and data collection, the City will receive matching grant funding for up to 50% of the cost of the playground structure (currently estimated at $70,000 in grant funds).
“Establishing the city’s first inclusive playground is a meaningful step forward as part of our ongoing focus to bring play and activities to all,” stated North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey.
“We are honored to have been selected as a National Demonstration Site through this initiative,” stated Doyle Best, Director of Recreation. “Of course, we are happy to receive the additional funding for this project, but beyond that, we are excited to build our first fully inclusive playground and to use the data gathered from this project to help us design future facilities. We are grateful to everyone involved in this process from GameTime, Cunningham Recreation, and the staff at SCRPA.”
To date, there are no other National Demonstration Sites in the state of South Carolina. The City’s new playground is expected to open to the public in 2021.