RVE was retained by the County of Essex for engineering design and landscape architecture services for upgrades to Watsessing Park playground in Bloomfield, NJ. It is 15,000 square feet and provides something that most other playgrounds don’t — inclusivity.
The park was built with special-needs children of all kinds in mind. Gently sloped ramps and large landings provide enough space for children in wheelchairs to enjoy the jungle gym and venture higher onto the structure than was possible in the past. In addition to the ramps and landings, the park provides visual, auditory and tactile surface features for children at lower-than-usual heights. The park was designed to allow children who are not walking, who aren’t upright or are in wheelchairs to enjoy those features. Each landing area features at least three different stimuli for children, including tic-tac-toe and a set of musical pipes. Near a shady spot, children can spin wheels and listen to the sounds of beads rolling around or watch a rainbow fly by. One slide is made up of rollers, providing a different feel than typical plastic slides. The playground’s variety lets children with differing abilities or different sensitives find their own way to have fun. A second shaded area encompasses an instrument section and a cool-down station. Children can bang on bongos and play the xylophone while being sprayed by a cool mist.
The playground is the first park in Essex County developed for children of all physical and developmental abilities.