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Marcotte Park/Together We Play Packet

Marcotte Park/Together We Play Packet

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Published by Scott Taylor

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Published by: Scott Taylor on Sep 12, 2012
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09/12/2012

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Lewiston’s Inclusive Playground
“Te River” at
Marcotte Park 
 
~
City of Lewiston, Maine
~
www.lewistonmaine.gov 
Sponsorship Packet
 
Images shown are for conceptual purposes only. Actual elements may vary slightly.
MARCOTTE PARK PLAYGROUND SPONSORSHIP PACKET ~ 2
THE VISION
The All-America City of Lewiston, Maine, has an exciting vision for a universally accessible playground! Lewiston desires a community space where everyoneinclusively PLAYS together! The goal is to establish a “playground of abilities,” a Northeast destination point for children and their families! Marcotte Park is thelocation of the future inclusive playground, with a theme of “The River” due to the City’s commitment to the development of Riverfront Island and enhanced multi-useaccess to the Androscoggin River.Lewiston schools and agencies interact with hundreds of special needs children with mobility, physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities. Lewiston, Maine’ssecond largest municipality, and several community stakeholders have discussed how such a playground could bring compassion, inclusiveness, and mutual
understanding to new heights. The benets of ensuring that children have access to play opportunities cross and link a number of areas - learning, health, social
relationships, family, and community!
The City of Lewiston envisions a visually appealing playground that benets children and adults, with or without disabilities. For those with disabilities, an inclusive
playground offers an opportunity to learn social skills in an integrated, more natural, stimulating, and motivating environment. An inclusive playground increases theavailability of age-appropriate, non-disabled role models and peer support, while allowing participation in a variety of in-school and extracurricular activities. Newfriendships are made, and one’s self-esteem improved. Interacting with children and adults with disabilities can enhance an able-bodied person’s understanding ofthose with a disability. It can teach others how to interact with, be friends to, assist, and advocate for peers with disabilities. The ultimate goals: to eliminate prejudice,encourage interaction, and enrich lives.Ben & Erin Hayes provide a unique perspective. As parents of a young daughter, they want quality play time with her. Ben has
lived with a spinal cord injury
since
December 
2007, and nding ways to play together has been difcult. They desire a playground where children and adults with disabilities feel welcome
 –
a
centralized play
area versus one where they are separated from others. Inclusiveness, they say, would afrm that others are willing to share time/space with them.
Ben believes
the playground would be a fresh unbiased experience
where
play, socialization, and education would be common
ground
for a new adventure!Lewiston’s new inclusive playground will be barrier free toinclude barrier-free parking along the adjacent street, creatinga seamless parking-to-playground transition. The groundsurfaces will be smooth and level so those with physicallimitations don’t have to abandon their support devices. Theplayground will be sensory rich, providing stimulation forchildren and adults, with visual and developmental challenges.It will create an attractive, meaningful space with multipleopportunities for all, regardless of their physical or sensorydevelopment, so all can play together in a diverse environment.
 
Images shown are for conceptual purposes only. Actual elements may vary slightly.
MARCOTTE PARK PLAYGROUND SPONSORSHIP PACKET ~ 3
 ~ Donna Driscoll, Androscoggin Head Start Disabilities Program Manager
,personally understands the need for an inclusive playground. She discovered that the design of manyexisting parks further isolated her disabled son from his peers. He still had no one to play with and missed
out on cooperative play. Donna also knows that an accessible playground would beneft the 149 childrenHead Start serve
s
via occupational, physical, and development therapy; social/emotional assistance; andspeech/language.
~ Stephanie Gelinas, Executive Director of Sandcastle Clinical and EducationalServices
, expresses concern that
 
children
with challenges
are even isolated from their siblings when
play is not
integrated.
~
 
Special Olympics of Maine
shares that children who use wheelchairs or other ambulatorydevices are often left on the sidelines watching other children play.
~ Holly Day, Child Development Services (CDS)/First Step Director
, shares thatexisting playgrounds are limited in age and developmentally appropriate offerings. CDS servesLewiston, Auburn, and surrounding town children totaling 800, and staff would embrace the playgroundfor gross motor, sensory, cognitive, and social development.
~ George Veilleux, Lewiston Public Schools Special Education Director
, notesLewiston’s youth population growth, and he believes an inclusive playground will enable childrenwithout special needs to learn from children who have them!
~ An accessible playground would also complement Lewiston’s culturaldiversity.
With an inux of approximately 4,000 refugees/immigrants to Lewiston since 2001, the
creative offerings of an accessible playground would further encourage inclusiveness amidst childrenof varying cultures.
WHY LEWISTON NEEDS AN INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND!

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