Making Playtime Accessible


All-Ability Parks address parts of the community that often have issues accessing more traditional playgrounds and parks. Spurred by community advocates, the City of Farmington plans to take the site of the former Tibbetts Middle School on Apache Street and transform the space from the dirt lot, track, and old building into a space reflecting the needs and wants of all individuals in the community - no matter how they get around or interact with their environment. The park, the first of its kind in San Juan County, is planned to break ground in the Fall of 2023. By Hannah Robertson This story is sponsored by Ace Hardware of Farmington and Boon’s Family Thai BBQ

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For many people, adults and children alike, playgrounds are a space where one can get loose, get some energy out and enjoy the outdoors. For others, especially people and children with disabilities, playgrounds are yet another inaccessible resource. The city of Farmington plans to change that with the proposed construction of an all abilities park at the former Tibbits Middle School location on Apache Street. You're watching the local news network brought to you by Ace Hardware and Boon's Family Thai Barbecue. I'm Hayley Opsal.

And All Abilities Park is a space literally for everyone in the community. So it's an area where people of all abilities, all generations, ages, can come together and interact in an accessible space together.

The park is a community led idea. Advocates in the community noticed a lack of facilities, especially regarding parks, and created the Tibbetts All Abilities Foundation to raise money to fund the creation of an all abilities Park. The park will be the first of its kind in San Juan County. The goal of bringing the community together with a park that caters to everyone. Small to tall. Walking or wheeling, talking and signing.

Often you have a family and one individual has a mobility issue, but they can all come together and share the space together.

With all the different components and moving pieces, the project is several months in the making. However, after several public meetings as well as design pitches, the park is well on its way to completion. Blueprints of the approved design will be put together and the goal is to have the project ready for construction Fall 2023. The city plans to use the site of the old Tibbetts Middle School, already a popular walking location, thanks to its track as the base for the park using the rest of the lot, as well as the former library building to complete the project.

This entire block will be used for the park, is planned out to be part of the park. So that side of the space we have an existing building, an old library building that will remain there. It will be renovated, big upgrades to the bathrooms. They're making those fully accessible. And then that will be a really unique space in the sense too, that will have some sensory areas. It's a space where people who provide services to individuals that maybe don't have a central meeting place can use that to do programing from this area behind me. Here, the track is very important currently to the community. People love this track. It's used very heavily. That will be remain a turf area over here because we also know Littles use that for football and just various sports activities.

So the turf will remain and the track, it will look different, but it will remain here. And then this whole center section is where you're going to see the biggest transformation. So we're really going to duplicate the natural landscape of the four corners over here. So we'll have bluffs, we'll have valleys, we'll have just this terrain that's able to change height and allow for all kinds of fun, claimable spaces, just an infinite number of ways to interact with that landscape.

All ability parks have begun growing in number over the last few years in an effort to make more parts of the world accessible to people. Parks like the proposed one in Farmington use a variety of features to ensure access for people using mobility devices for people who are hard of hearing or deaf. Different textures with materials enable a sensory experience for everyone. Farmington Park's aim to do all of this while still highlighting and sharing the landscape of the area and the design of the park.

This parking in particular, as far as all abilities park is going to be something unlike anybody's ever seen. We're literally innovating what all abilities looks like with the most current technology, super customized aspects, with a lot of science and research that goes behind this industry. So if you've been to an All Abilities Park before, this is going to be hopefully bigger and better than than that ever was.

For more information on the Farmington All Abilities Park or to view the proposed designs, visit Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Hayley Opsal.


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