Santa Clara County Awards $7 Million To Build All-inclusive Magical Bridge Playgrounds In County, Becoming The National Leader In Truly Inclusive Environments For Children And Adults Of All Abilities
County’s Funds to be Matched by Cities throughout Santa Clara County and through Private Philanthropy Secured through the Magical Bridge Foundation
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA Jan. 26, 2018 — The Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara approved $7M in funds to build playgrounds for children and adults of all abilities. With five Magical Bridge Playground projects under development, Santa Clara County is poised to be the national leader for all-inclusive playgrounds and truly inclusive play.
The funding will be allocated towards five new Magical Bridge Playground projects, including $2M towards Morgan Hill’s Community Park, $2M to San Jose’s Emma Prusch Farm Park, $1.7M to Mountain View’s Rengstorff Park, and $1M to Sunnyvale’s Fair Oak Park. In addition, $300k is being allocated to develop a school playground mindfully designed for elementary school students of all abilities and disabilities. Addison Elementary School in Palo Alto will serve as the pilot school yard program, leveraging the research and philosophy of the Magical Bridge model. Additional resources needed to fully fund each of these projects will be raised through philanthropy outreach by the Magical Bridge Foundation.
The Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara established the All-Inclusive Playground Grant Program (AIPG) in 2017 to provide grants to local cities, school districts, non-profits or other governmental entities interested in building all-inclusive playgrounds in their communities located within Santa Clara County. AIPG served as a catalyst to communities within the County to provide facilities of regional significance for seniors, children and parents with disabilities.
“We’re making real progress in creating playgrounds for kids and adults of all abilities – spaces where everyone feels welcome, and has a place to meet friends, have fun and play. This is how we as a local government can have a real impact on our communities. And I am particularly pleased that our Board was unanimous in its enthusiasm for developing parks that truly serve the entire community,” said Joe Simitian, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
Magical Bridge Playgrounds are designed to be both physically and socially inclusive for children and adults of varying physical and cognitive abilities. One in every five Americans today lives with a visible or invisible disability, making it the largest minority group in the country and growing daily. While the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 made important cultural shifts, 25 years later our public parks do little to incorporate the needs of autistic, cognitively challenged, visually and hearing impaired, physically limited, and aging populations. Magical Bridge is changing that, using nearly a decade of research, insights from inclusion specialists and advocacy from engaged organizations, corporations, and school partners to create dynamic spaces that truly delight everyone.
“With five new Magical Bridge Playgrounds in the pipeline, we’re excited to kick off our collaboration with Santa Clara County and each of the cities involved, raising the additional funds needed to make these playgrounds a reality. Each additional inclusive playground helps create new friendships and, with each new playground, we build more inclusive communities,” says Olenka Villarreal, founder of Palo Alto’s pioneer Magical Bridge playground.
About Magical Bridge Foundation
Magical Bridge Foundation is a 501C3 non-profit organization based in the heart of Silicon Valley, advocating for and bringing to life innovative and truly inclusive community and school playgrounds. Magical Bridge playgrounds delight and welcome everyone, regardless of ability, disability, size or age. Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto opened to the public in April 2015, and is heralded as the nation’s most innovative and inclusive playground. Playground projects are currently underway in northern California communities of Redwood City, Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and the Palo Alto Unified School District. Locations outside the Bay Area for parks and school playgrounds will be announced in 2018. Kindly visit Magical Bridge online at http://www.magicalbridge.org, and on Facebook and Twitter.