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Park Inclusivity at RVE

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Parks and recreation professionals focus their service on three key pillars of support: conservation, health and wellness, and social equity.

In the conservation pillar, parks play a critical role in the preservation of natural resources, which have a quantifiable economic benefit to the communities they serve. At RVE, our parks and recreation staff includes licensed landscape architects who work on conservation projects such as green infrastructure, wetlands restoration and planting for pollinators.

In the health and wellness pillar, parks and recreation professionals focus their efforts in improving community health and wellness, especially through efforts to reduce obesity and physical inactivity and promote healthy lifestyles. At RVE, we can assess existing park conditions and design new park amenities such as sports fields, playgrounds, and trails.

In the social equity pillar, it is important to include all stakeholders to ensure quality parks and provide access to those parks for everyone. At RVE, our parks and recreation staff have been spearheading universal playgrounds that allow children of all abilities to play side by side.

Watsessing Park Playground

RVE completed one of Essex County’s first universal parks developed for children and families of all physical and developmental abilities. RVE was retained by the County of Essex for engineering design and landscape architecture services for upgrades to in Bloomfield, NJ. It is 15,000 square feet and provides something that most other playgrounds don’t — inclusivity.

The park was built with children of various needs 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. The park was designed to allow children with mobility difficulties or who are in wheelchairs to enjoy those features. Each landing area features at least three different stimuli. 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 variety lets children with differing abilities 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. There is quiet space within the play area to allow children to have a relaxing calming area. The goal of universal playgrounds is to allow all people to play together.