New equipment at Rosland Park will finally allow for everyone to enjoy the fun and thrills of a playground.
The new playground will feature accessible pathways and surface structures, giving non-mobile children and adults the opportunity to reach all levels of the play structure.
When completed, the structure will be 8 feet tall and all accessible to anyone in a walker or wheelchair.
It marks the first barrier-free playground in Edina, and depending on who you ask, even further than that.
“There are not any that I can think of the in the western suburbs that are barrier free,” Harlan Lehman said.
Lehman has worked for the Golden Valley-based Minnesota / Wisconsin Playground for 27 years and now is president of the company.
Of the thousands of playgrounds that the company has worked on, including at schools and apartments, this one is especially exciting to Lehman.
“This is one really, really exceptionally cool project that we are excited to be working on.” Lehman said. “We call this a playground for everybody. There are no barriers for anyone with a walker or wheelchair, so someone who many not have the same mobility as the next person can play with them side by side.”
On top of a sizable budget, including a $25,000 grant from an anonymous donor, Lehman said the space Rosland Park has to work with made the design process exciting and rewarding.
The existing equipment was structurally sound but was outdated and did not comply with safety standards.
“The base was pea rock, which is not accessible,” Lehman said. “Honestly, not even for able-bodied people. You sink in it when you walk.”
On top of a turf base and barrier free structure with climbing nets, slides and interactive panels, the playground will house many other play features.
Six swings including two ADA- (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant swings and two swings for able-bodied users.
There are also two expression swings, also a first in Edina, which allows for an adult to swing looking their child in the eyes.
Of the two zip tracks, one includes an ADA-compliant seat and harness.
A Merry Go All will allow for all different types of individuals to strap in to four high-back seats, including those with weak necks or spines.
There is also a piece called the Tilted Sky Runner that can accommodate up to 16 kids at a time while they spin in a circle.
“The beauty of this park is that it is going to allow kids who have never played in a typical play environment just to go,” Lehman said.
Despite rain and a broken Bobcat, the project is still on schedule.
There will be a grand opening once the equipment is up and the turf is fully installed, although the final date has not been set.