Thursday, June 19, 2008

Universally Accessible Playground Dedication Ceremony
Van Nuys - The Department of Recreation and Parks proudly dedicated a Universally Accessible Playground (UAP) at Anthony C. Beilenson Park on Monday, June 9, 2008. The new UAP is the 10th accessible playground run by the Department.

The first west coast Accessible playground began with one mother. In March of 1997 Catherine Curry-Williams gave birth to a son, Shane, who died two weeks later of spinal muscular atrophy (a disorder that would have left him severely disabled had he survived). Catherine's sister-in-law sent her an article from an East Coast paper about another family who also lost a child. They had turned their grief into action by creating a playground.

Inspired by the story, Catherine and her husband Scott did their research and learned that there were no wheelchair-accessible playgrounds on the west coast. They decided to take action. Catherine joined with a friend, Tiffany Harris, and together they created a non-profit organization called SHANE'S INSPIRATION. Their mission is to create a truly unique recreational environment in Los Angeles that provides an opportunity for children with disabilities to play at their highest level, enhancing their emotional, physical and social development, as well as teaching compassion and acceptance.

The City of Los Angeles has joined with Shane’s inspiration to build 10 universally accessible playgrounds in city parks. There are nine additional playgrounds on the drawing board.

The new accessible playground at Beilenson Park has two separate play areas, one section for two to five-year-olds and two sections for five to twelve-year-olds. All of the areas have a “Maritime” theme and feature swings, ladders, a variety of balancing elements, climbers and slides.

Special features to the 19,600-square-foot playground is an interactive drum play area and sensory wall. Other elements include spring toys, crawl tunnels, landscaping and drinking fountains.

The $1 million project was jointly designed by Shane’s Inspiration and the Bureau of Engineering’s (BOE) Architectural Division. The Department of Recreation and Parks’ Construction Division built and managed the project. Funding came from Prop 40, City Capital Improvement Funds and Quimby fees.

Anthony C. Beilenson Park is located at 6300 Balboa Boulevard in Van Nuys, 91316. For more information on this location or the Department in general please call (213) 928-9200 or visit our website at

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294

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