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Inclusive Playground Planning and Design

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An Inclusive Playground is one that is welcoming, challenging, and fun for everyone. All of the Town’s newer playgrounds meet the minimum requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, however, this project is intended to far exceed minimum requirements in every aspect of design and construction. If we are successful any child will have the ability to have fun without feeling excluded or limited by physical or developmental issues.

The Town of Chapel Hill currently has nine playgrounds; all of which have some level of accessibility for those with disabilities. However, most of these play structures have limited access for some children. Currently, the Town does not have a destination play area that is welcoming to all children and their care givers. This project envisions the planning and development of a large play area that has a mix of features that would be challenging and welcoming for all children. This would be a place where children with varying levels of mental and physical disabilities could play side by side and have fun with children who are typically developing. Challenges would not be removed, but rather designed in such a way that everyone can participate.

Step one was concluded in early 2016 when Cedar Falls Park was selected as the site for the playground.

We are now in the process to design a play area specifically for Cedar Falls Park.

The final steps will be to build the playground. Construction is likely to occur in a number of phases as funding becomes available.

We believe fully in the concept of providing a special play area for all children. To achieve that goal we intend to follow the  Seven Principles of Inclusive Design for our guiding principles.

We understand that it may be difficult to envision what an Inclusive Playground may look like. We encourage interested people to visit Cary's Kids Together Park or visit the Kids Together website. It is not our intent to copy Cary's successful park. However, we can use it as a guide for a play area that meets the needs of Chapel Hill.



We have developed a draft Inclusive Playground Schematic Plan for public comment. We encourage public comment through August 24, 2018. After that date we will use any comments received to consider revisions to the schematic plan prior to development of detailed design and construction plans. The plan can be seen in two formats:

Inclusive Playground Schematic Plan (Proposed)

Inclusive Playground Schematic Plan (Proposed) Showing Surrounding Uses

The playground plan is the same in both versions, however the plan showing surrounding uses will give an indication of adjacent properties and other nearby park uses.

Email your comments to Park Maintenance Superintendent Kevin Robinson.



We held a public workshop to start the planning process to develop and build an Inclusive Playground at Cedar Falls Park. We used input received at the public form, from direct communications, and an online survey to produce two documents:

Cedar Falls Inclusive Playground Report, which summarizes all of the input received so far.

A list of Design Program Elements, which will be used as a basis for design


We held a public workshop to review design options for the Inclusive Playground at Cedar Falls Park. We intend to use input received at the public form and from direct communications to produce a final schematic design that will be used as a basis for final construction drawings. Please review the following documents and provide your thoughts. You can propose any of the following three options, a mix of the options, or something totally different. Go to the Examples of Play Settings and Opportunities for specific play feature ideas. Email your thoughts or comments directly to Senior Planner Marcia Purvis or call 919 968-2750:

Option 1 - Compact Traditional

Option 2 - Rams Horns

Option 3 - Tucked in the Woods

Examples of Play Settings and Opportunities

Meeting Presentation





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