City of Irvine Receives $2.8 Million to Develop Universal Playground at Sweet Shade Neighborhood Park

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On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Congressman Cottie Petrie-Norris presented City of Irvine officials with $2.8 million in public funding to renovate the city’s playground at Sweet Shade Neighborhood Park into a playground. universal that will meet the needs of all residents, regardless of ability.

The universal playground will feature multi-generational play elements to support the use of the playground by people with disabilities, as well as their parents and caregivers; an adaptive swing; a sensory garden; and adjacent restrooms and changing room for adults. The playground will be wheelchair accessible, include interactive equipment for a variety of ages, and be usable by everyone wherever possible. View Concept Plan.

“Ensuring Irvine is an inclusive city that provides all residents with access to equitable services and opportunities is a top priority for me and the City Council,” said Mayor Farrah N. Khan. “The Universal Playground will be the first of its kind in Irvine and will support our existing efforts to provide services for people with sensory, physical or cognitive disabilities and their family members. I am grateful for the support of MP Cottie Petrie-Norris for this partnership in providing this remarkable resource.

“I’m so proud to have secured $2.8 million in the California State Budget to renovate Sweet Shade Park in the Westpark neighborhood of Irvine to include all abilities,” the MP said. Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine). “The new STEM and Outer Space theme will provide exciting interactive sensory learning for people with special needs, and I can’t wait to see kids coming together to enjoy this phenomenal resource in our community.”

Sweet Shade is a 7.9-acre public park and home to the Sweet Shade Ability Center, where the city’s Disability Services Program provides activities for people with sensory, physical, or cognitive disabilities and their family members. The capacity center was renovated in 2019 to provide a larger, more accessible and inviting center for the delivery of disability services activities to Irvine residents. The creation of the city’s first universal playground will complement the facility and expand inclusive recreation opportunities for all Irvine residents. Work will begin in spring 2023 and should be completed in spring 2024.

Click on here to view photos from the press conference. For more information on City of Irvine Disability Services, please visit cityofirvine.org/disabilityservices.

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