On Tuesday, October 25, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris presented City of Irvine officials with $2.8 million in state funding to renovate the City’s playground at Sweet Shade Neighborhood Park to a universal playground that will meet the needs of all residents regardless of ability.
The universal playground will feature multigenerational play components to support playground usage by those with disabilities, as well as their parents and caregivers; an adaptive swing; a sensory garden; and an adjacent restroom and adult changing area. The playground will be wheelchair accessible, include interactive equipment for a variety of ages, and will be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible. View the concept plan.
“Ensuring Irvine is an inclusive City that offers all residents access to equitable services and opportunities is a top priority for me and the City Council,” said Mayor Farrah N. Khan. “The universal playground will be the first of its kind in Irvine and will support our existing efforts to provide services for individuals with sensory, physical, or cognitive disabilities, and their family members. I am grateful for the support from Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris for this partnership in providing this remarkable resource.”
"I'm so proud to have secured $2.8 million in the California state budget to renovate Sweet Shade Park in the Westpark neighborhood of Irvine, to be inclusive of all abilities," said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine). “The new STEM and outer space theme will provide exciting interactive sensory learning for special needs individuals, and I can't wait to see kids come together to enjoy this phenomenal resource in our community."
Sweet Shade is a 7.9-acre public park and home to Sweet Shade Ability Center, where the City's Disability Services program provides activities for individuals with sensory, physical, or cognitive disabilities, and their family members. The ability center was renovated in 2019 to provide a larger, more accessible, and inviting hub for the delivery of Disability Services activities to Irvine residents. The creation of the City's first universal playground will complement the facility and expand inclusive recreational opportunities to all Irvine residents. Work will commence spring 2023 and is expected to be completed by spring 2024.