Goal:
Acton, MA Jones Field Accessible Playground

Mission:

A community initiative for a fully accessible, inclusive, universal-design playspace, to be located at 54 Martin Street in Acton, Massachusetts.

Details:

A community initiative for a fully accessible, inclusive, universal-design playspace, to be located at 54 Martin Street in Acton, Massachusetts.

WHO ARE WE?

We are a group of local citizens working together with Acton Recreation to rebuild Jones Field playground. In order to assist us with our fundraising efforts, we have teamed up with SMILE Mass (Small Miracles in Life Exist, www.smilemass.org): a 501 C3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping families raising children or adults with disabilities enjoy happy, healthy memories through vacation and recreation experiences.

WHAT IS JONES FIELD?

Jones Field is a combination sports field/playground located in South Acton and is the only municipal playground in that area. The location is geographically accessible to many South Acton neighborhoods, while its proximity to the town lines of Maynard and Stow makes this site unique in its ability to bring various municipalities together.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

For many years, Acton Recreation has championed the replacement of the playground at Jones Field. The existing structure (installed in 1996) is run down and in dire need of replacement; therefore, the creation of a new playground is essential.

However, our goal is not just to build an ordinary playground (which only accommodates able-bodied individuals). We want to create a space for EVERYONE to play, learn, invent, develop, and grow. In keeping with the town’s recreation goals as recorded in Acton 2020 and the Open Space and Recreation Plan, a fully accessible playground is greatly needed and desired by the community.

In Massachusetts, there are only a handful of playgrounds that were created with universal design and complete accessibility in mind. Our end goal is to incorporate as many playground structures and landscape aspects in this playground’s design that meet and exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements as possible. To create the most inclusive space imaginable, we are requesting the assistance of local community groups, businesses, corporations, and financial entities to help us achieve our fundraising goal of $500,000.

HOW MUCH HAS BEEN RAISED SO FAR?

An independent, grassroots fundraising campaign has already produced over $50,000 to be used towards the playground’s creation. Taking into account town funding, additional grants or sponsorships, and in-kind donations, we already have $310,000 in total secured for this project.

WHY DO WE NEED A FULLY-ACCESSIBLE PLAYGROUND?

Play is an essential component in a child’s life. Play enhances language development, fosters cognitive and kinetic engagement, promotes physical wellness, builds self esteem/confidence, and encourages strong interpersonal relationships. For many children with disabilities, a playground also offers opportunities for ongoing physical therapy treatment. However, children with disabilities are routinely denied access to playgrounds (inaccessibility to the play structures, lack of appropriate swings/equipment, non-compliant pathways to reach play area, etc).

Here in Massachusetts, 18.9% of students in public schools are on an Individual Education Plan or 504 Plan. Of those students, 12.2% have severe disabilities. A fully inclusive playground would benefit our community by allowing 100% of children to play, interact, imagine, experience, create, and communicate with each other in a welcoming, natural environment.

Request:

Special Thanks To Our Sponsors:
“This organization is doing so much for so many families. I used their beach chair loaner program to get down to the beach with my family for the first time in over a decade. I didn’t really realize how much I missed spending time "strolling" at low tide and swimming in the ocean.  There aren’t enough words of gratitude to express how this organization has changed my life.”
Deb Fowler via Facebook