Universal Access Playground

The Rotary Club of Ann Arbor, in conjunction with The City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services, worked together to fund and build the city’s first Universal Access Playground (UAP).  The new custom designed UAP was constructed at Gallup Park.

Collyer Smith, the Rotary Club’s 2016-17 president said, “We are thrilled to be at this point in making the universal access playground a reality, and it is due to a great partnership with the City of Ann Arbor, the DNR and all of our funders.”

The Rotary Club of Ann Arbor presented a check in the amount of $550,000 for the project budget. Additionally, a grant of $300,000 was awarded to the City of Ann Arbor in December 2015 by the Michigan Natural Resources trust fund board. The city Park Maintenance and Capital Improvements Millage funded $150,000 for the project. Construction took place in 2017.

The Rotary Club of Ann Arbor celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2016 and chose to commemorate the milestone with a Centennial Playground Project at Gallup Park. This UAP was designed to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible exceeding standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act including features and surfacing that are inclusive, stimulating and fun for all users, whether fully independent, or with mobility, sensory or visual impairments. Specific playground features include a water/sand play area, a sensory garden, adaptive swings and moving play activities such as whirl and spring riders with back supports. Other universally accessible features of the project include grills, picnic tables, benches, a fishing pier and a canoe/kayak launch.

Additionally, the project reconfigured a portion of the Border-to-Border Trail (which is part of the Iron Belle Trail) within the park to make it safer for trail riders and children using the play equipment.

Ashish Sarkar, the Rotary Club’s 2015-2016 president, said the playground is a state-of-the-art facility designed to serve all — young and old, as well as those with and without physical challenges — and offers a unique opportunity for families to enjoy the beauty of the Huron River.

During the year, the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor additionally contributed more than 7,500 hours of service and $155,000 in contributions to local and international projects.

In 2020, the club added some additional educational engagement features to the playground, as part of our goal to continue to maintain and improve this playground for the community. Learn more and see the installations here.

Learn more about Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services by visiting www.a2gov.org/parks.

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