A Playground For All

Indiana’s first boundless playground opened in Fort Wayne recently, and everything from the play equipment to the ground itself has been designed to allow children both with disabilities and without to play together in an inclusive setting.

A dinosaur play piece nestles in Playground Grass.

The playground, called “Taylor’s Dream,” began as an idea from a little girl named Taylor Reuille.

When 11-year-old Taylor realized that there were many kids with disabilities who couldn’t play at playgrounds in her community, she and her mother, Casey Booher, researched and found that a

boundless playground could offer play opportunities for all children, including those with physical, sensory, developmental and cognitive disabilities.

“We’ve got to do this, Mom,” Casey Booher recalls her daughter saying. “We have to.”

After years of fund-raising and hard work, the playground is now a reality, and features an accessible surface called Playground Grass.

Playground Grass by ForeverLawn is an artificial grass surfacing system designed for beauty, safety and accessibility in playground environments. The system offers a soft, grass-like surface, combined with a padded sub-surface that provides an ASTM safety rating to fall heights of 12 feet.

The texture and appearance of the grass contributes to the tactile and visual sensory perception of the children, and the even, stable surface provided by Playground Grass is ADA accessible, allowing wheelchairs, braces and other assistive equipment to access the facility easily and safely.

When used to connect barrier-free play elements like those found at Taylor’s Dream, Playground Grass contributes to a truly boundless play experience.

Fifty-year-old Sherry Woodman had the opportunity to play on a playground for the first time in her life at the grand opening of Taylor’s Dream.

“I’m a disabled parent, and I couldn’t come when they were little and play with them anywhere on a playground because I couldn’t get through with the mulch. You know, mulch is really hard for wheelchair tires and stuff,” Woodman said.

“And so not only are kids going to be able to come here and play that have disabilities, but parents with disabilities are going to be able to come here and feel like normal parents and be able to just enjoy their kids,” she said. “I didn’t leave here till I’d been on every part of the playground; I wanted to do it all.”

The playground took four years to build. Taylor and her family personally raised $10,000 through community and school fund-raising, and the city of Fort Wayne provided $250,000 toward the playground fund.

But when Taylor discovered that the playground would cost over a million dollars to build, she “thought it would be virtually impossible,” she said.

ADA-approved Playground Grass and inclusive play pieces make Taylor's Dream a playground for all.

However, with the help of the community, the city and donations from other sources, they were able to raise the money. A large part of the funds to build the park came from a grant from the Pepsi Refresh Challenge, a competition that the park won thanks to a huge effort by Taylor’s family and the community of Fort Wayne.

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