ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, Recreation & Parks Director A. Raul Delerme, and local leaders cut the ribbon on the new playground at Schooley Mill Park in Highland. This new playground was designed to be a model of inclusion and age-friendly for all, and includes unique features to accommodate cognitive, communicative, social/emotional, and sensory disabilities. Pictures from the event can be found here

Inclusion was a priority at every step of this project, from the parking lot to a wheelchair accessible merry-go-round. This new playground will inspire children of all ages and abilities to stay engaged and active while encouraging healthy social interaction with others.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The playground at Schooley Mill Park was over 30 years old. The play area was closed in November of 2020 for the removal of the old playground and installation of the new accessible structure. The new playground follows a farm and agricultural theme which encourages social interaction. To maintain safety, the playground is now fenced. 
“At this park, we have opportunities ranging from horseback riding to cricket to basketball to tennis,” commented Howard County Director of Recreation & Parks A. Raul Delerme.  “And with this new farm-themed playground, we included a variety of slides, musical instruments, and creative play elements that will excite all that play.” 

“Play is so important for bringing people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds together,” said Christiana Rigby, Chair, Howard County Council. “This new inclusive playground at Schooley Mill Park is a wonderful destination for everyone in our community.”Playground improvements include a fence that surrounds the entire playground, an augmented and alternative communication board which helps those with limited verbal skills communicate, a custom-designed ramp that allows those in a wheelchair to play on the tractor, sensory panels throughout the playground, musical instruments, a swing with an overheard latch, and more. Other improvements to the area included the installment of benches and improved pathways.

The Autism Society is thrilled to help welcome another inclusive playground to Howard County! Our thanks to County Executive Ball, Raul Delerme, their teams, and others who helped make this a reality. Creating these kinds of spaces for our children makes inclusive experiences part of their everyday lives, teaching them from a young age to be accepting and inclusive.  We hope that spirit stays with them as they grow into adulthood.

Melissa Rosenberg
Executive Director, Howard County Autism Society

Schooley Mill Park is located at 12975 Hall Shop Road in Highland. Amenities at this park include over four miles of trails, three ball fields, two basketball courts, a regulation-sized cricket field with two pitches, an indoor facility, four tennis courts, three equestrian rings, the new playground, and ample parking. 
For information on Schooley Mill Park, visit our website

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