Oregon Park District’s Mix Park playground opens
New playground replaced structure installed in 1999
OREGON — The Oregon Park District opened a new playground structure at Mix Park on May 16. The district purchased the new playground equipment in December with plans to replace the existing structure installed in 1999. Capital improvement funds and a $43,726 grant provided by GameTime were used to fund the Mix Park addition.
Oregon Park District staff began removal of the old playground in April. Equipment was donated to Kids Around the World, an organization based in Rockford. Kids Around the World refurbishes existing playgrounds and re-installs in poverty-stricken communities.
The new playground equipment was installed by staff as a cost-saving measure. Installation by staff, and not a contracted installer, saved the district more than $59,000 in additional expenses. Erin Folk, executive director, said, “We’re truly fortunate to have talented employees who were willing to rise to the challenge when asked to complete the installation.”
The new playground provides 2,600 square feet of play space and meets all ADA standards for accessible design. The structure is designed to meet the play needs for children ages 2-5 and 5-12. The district will also be adding a Zero-G Swing allowing children who need additional support to swing alongside their friends. The swing will be installed upon delivery.
Following installation, the structure was inspected and approved by a certified playground safety inspector. All playgrounds installed after March 15, 2012, are required to comply with the 2010 ADA standards for accessible design.
“Creating ADA-accessible spaces continues to be a top priority and we’re always looking for ways to move beyond the minimum standards,” Folk said.
In 2020, the district looked to exceed the minimum ADA standards and constructed a new playground at Park West to comply with accessible design standards and be fully inclusive. Park West is a National Demonstration Site for inclusive play and can be viewed at www.playcore.com/nds/map#15099.
Inclusive designs address the developmental needs of the whole child by intentionally providing opportunities for physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional and sensory development. This site was chosen for inclusive play due to Park West being a recreation hub for the community and its proximity to Oregon Elementary School and the Village of Progress.
Mix Park is owned by the City of Oregon but leased to the Oregon Park District through 2045 for maintenance and park management. The park includes 2.4 acres of open space, a playground, shelter, two pickleball courts and two sculptures on the Oregon Sculpture Trail, Paths of Conviction and The Fish Boys.