The playground at Bellevue Downtown Park will be redesigned and significantly expanded to include new, interactive features that engage the senses. Details about the playground overhaul, intended to accommodate children with disabilities, will be unveiled Saturday at a "Play for All" Expo at the park.
The city has hired a landscape architect to draw up plans for "Inspiration Playground," which will have unusual components, including tactile sculptures that encourage touching and climbing and an interactive music plaza that allows users to create and respond to sound. A central "Whimsy Plaza" will feature a tree sculpture that evokes Dr. Seuss.
To be five times the size of the current playground, the new one will be open to all children, but it will offer a great play opportunity for children with developmental and physical disabilities who have difficulty at traditional playgrounds.
The Expo, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will include entertainment and food vendors. Scheduled activities include
- Welcome and playground project unveiling by Mayor Conrad Lee and Rotary Club President Robert Rose;
- "Discovery stations" and "disability awareness booths" such as wheelchair basketball and free-throw shooting contests, a blind navigation challenge, wheelchair obstacle course and video phone demonstrations;
- Scout activities such as a blindfolded rope tying contest, blind tent pitching and disability awareness merit badge class; and
- Entertainment, including the Bellevue Youth Theatre Glee Club, Seattle Hula Productions and Bellevue High Jazz Band.
Participants are invited to visit 10 stations and complete a Play for All passport to pick up a prize.
Participating organizations include: Canine Companions, Alliance of People with disAbilities, Autism Speaks, Outdoors for All, Lighthouse for the Blind, Steve Ferreira, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts, Autism Speaks, ARC of King County and AccessSTEM DO-IT Program.
The Rotary Club of Bellevue has partnered with the city on this project and is leading an effort to raise $3.5 million to build the playground, possibly by 2015. To donate funds or support the project, call 425-998-7542 or visit the Rotary. For more information about the Expo, call 425-452-4882 or check the Community Calendar.
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