Philadelphia playgrounds, parks and recreation centers will be more accessible to all thanks to a new law mandating inclusive equipment.
Mayor Jim Kenney signed the law Wednesday at Wister Playground in Germantown, which has just undergone a massive makeover to be open to kids of all abilities.
The law ensures all parks or playgrounds managed by the city, especially those that will be redesigned or renovated in the future, are inclusive, intergenerational and family-friendly, city officials said.
Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who co-wrote the law, said it’s not just about kids.
“This requires all playgrounds and rec centers to offer fitness equipment for adults, there should be something for young adults and seniors and everyone in between,” she said. “It also requires equipment for children with physical and/or developmental delays or disabilities.”
Kenney said he’s committed to accessible parks.
“Parks will lead to a healthier Philadelphia, but this can only happen if we allow every member of our population to use what they have to offer,” said the mayor. “Remaining active is essential to senior health, that’s why we need to make our parks can be enjoyed by our senior residents.”
Funding for the upgrades and modifications will come from revenue generated by the city’s new tax on sweetened beverages.
City managing director Mike DiBerardinis, who once ran the park system, said the changes called for in the new law will come relatively quickly.
“Every playground that gets designed, every facility that gets redesigned, every piece of equipment will be impacted,” he said.
Bass said that will make Philadelphia a leader among American cities for playgrounds that are welcoming to everyone.
“We are sending a message that we are going beyond accessibility and into active participation for all,” she said.