LITITZ, Pa. (WHTM) — The Lititz community gained an innovative new playground last fall — one that was designed with accessibility in mind.
The Tree House of Lititz Foundation worked with Play by Design to develop an inclusive play area that incorporates features like a ramp into the playground’s towers and a wheelchair-accessible swing. Even the materials, from the rubber ground covering to the stainless steel slides, were chosen with accessibility in mind.
Eric Landram, one of the general coordinators for The Tree House playground project, says that stainless steel slides are safer for children with hearing devices. Unlike stainless steel slides, plastic slides generate static electricity that can be damaging to hearing devices or to the ears of children wearing them, Landram explains.
Additionally, he says the wheelchair-accessible swing, called a Liberty Swing, has been very successful. “To hear [the children] laughing, to see them put their arms in the air as they swing — some of them for the first time in their lives — it’s really touching.”
Among its accessibility considerations, The Tree House playground also includes educational panels on braille and sign language.
“Everyone wants to feel like they belong, so what better place to feel that than at a playground?” says Courtney Richie, chair of the Tree House of Lititz Foundation and another general coordinator for the playground project.
The Tree House playground was designed, funded and constructed by the community, Richie and Landram explain. Local students submitted design ideas for the playground, and over 500 volunteers helped build it.
From zip lines to a tire swing to maze-like paths under the towers, the playground has everything a kid could want. It is open every day from sunup to sundown, and visitors can park in the Lititz Church of the Brethren parking lot.