ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today celebrated the opening of Savage Park’s new, inclusive playground with community members. The new structure replaces the previous aging playground and is more accessible for residents with disabilities. Photos of the event can be found here.
Howard County is known for our amazing parks and outdoor spaces, and this new playground continues that tradition. It’s so vital that as we maintain and upgrade our facilities we are building structures and parks that are inclusive and meet the needs of children of all ages and abilities.
The new playground was designed to increase interaction, encourage conversation, and promote language skills for children ages 2 to 12. There are three shade structures over the playground to help protect children at play from the sunlight. A separate area with four swings on the site allows children to safely move between play areas without navigating around swings.
A Nonverbal Communication Board sponsored by the Howard County Autism Society is located at the entrance to this playground that has Braille; words and symbols to allow those with limited or no verbal skills and those that are visually impaired communicate with others. The boards also encourage those that speak different languages to interact with one another.
Along with a great variety of slides, some highlights of the new playground include:
- Four “Too Small to Fail” boards that promote children and their caregivers to interact and communicate.
- Two musical stations and a sensory panel
- Imagination tables to promote creativity, imaginative play, and communicating with others
- Graduated play options that allow children a variety of challenges range from stairs and pod steppers to a complex climbing structure that requires motor planning, critical thinking, and upper body strength.
“The two musical stations are fun and beneficial additions that make this playground more accessible,” said Bob Linz, Acting Bureau Chief of Capital Projects, Parks Planning, and Construction for Recreation & Parks. “Musical instruments are inclusive because they are designed to be played from all different heights and angles so that all kids can play them, including kids with mobility devices of any kind. They also help children with cognitive function, emotional and physical health, and inclusive play.”
“This community is brought together by our parks, and they are often full of children and families as soon as the sun comes up,” said Susan Garber of the Savage Community Association. “Thank you to everyone who was involved in creating this beautiful park, it’s so wonderful to have this quality facility in our community, within walking distance, and accessible to many.”
New sidewalks that are flush with the parking lot and playground allow for increased accessibility. Additionally, four new benches are also being installed. Construction was completed by Sparks At Play, Quinn Construction and Recreation & Parks construction staff.
Savage Park was completed in 1982. It contains 2.8 miles of interconnecting trails, including links to Patuxent Branch Trail. Within the park are five ball diamonds, two basketball courts, two horseshoe pits, a picnic pavilion, four lighted tennis courts, two volleyball courts, a restroom facility, and the new playground.
For more information on Savage Park, visit https://www.howardcountymd.gov/recreation-parks/parks.