Kiwanis Club of Oskaloosa
For the past 27 years, the community of Oskaloosa, Iowa has enjoyed and even revered its wooden playground that was built by an all volunteer effort. But as these years have passed, huge deficits in the playground's accessibility have become obvious, from the timber towers to the wood chip surface. Its age has brought deterioration to the structure that is now in poor condition. Other pieces of play equipment date back as far as the 1960s.
In response to the need for a more inclusive playground, the local 100 year-old Kiwanis Club has organized a coalition of Rotary, Lions, and Optimist Clubs, a Special Olympics coach, city administrators and the local Chamber. This group is dedicated to providing an inclusive and accessible playground for children from six months in age to twelve years. Nearly 2400 children in this age range reside in Oskaloosa, with an additional 2000 in surrounding communities and rural areas of the county.
Accomplishment of this project's goals will impact the quality of life and health of children in their formative years. The need for children to have safe and enjoyable outdoor activities has become even more crucial as so many have been isolated from friends and classmates due to the Covid pandemic. Time spent in the outdoors contributes to better health in physical, social and emotional development. These benefits to outdoor play should be available to all children.
Since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, understanding of needs and creating solutions to meet those needs has progressed immeasurably. High quality play equipment designed for use by children with a wide spectrum of abilities is the standard that Oskaloosa intends to establish.