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New Cole Park Playground: Inclusive fun for everyone

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Posted at 6:06 PM, Jun 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-08 19:06:44-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Cole Park is one of the most visited spots in Corpus Christi. The playground is one of its many attractions, but by early next year, the park could soon be more inclusive to everyone.

The current Cole Park playground was installed in 2011 and has reached its end of life cycle of 12 years. The 10-year Parks and Recreation Master Plan said the park was in poor condition with holes and cracks.

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Now it is ready for an upgrade.

The new park will have a ramped playground for children requiring the use of a wheelchair or other assisting equipment. It will also include shaded structures, new slides, musical equipment, and an inclusive whirlwind. The new playground will replace the old one in the same location.

"You know things like that make my heart feel good," Parks and Recreation Director Robert Dodd said. "We're gonna see all types of children playing down there, no matter their abilities or situation they're in. They are going to be able to enjoy, as we all do, Cole Park."

Construction won't start until after summer, so kids can enjoy their summer vacation without construction interruption.

"With the new pier down there and all the activities going on down there, it's time to get a new playground for them," Dodd said.

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One major change will be ADA compliance.

Dr. Jennifer Scott with Choice Living Community (CLC) dedicates her time to working with adults and teenagers living with disabilities. She said the new all-inclusive playground will make those she works with feel welcomed.

"You want to live in a community where you're welcomed and have accessibility everywhere," Scott said. "It does improve mental health when you're included in things. It makes you feel good, and everybody wants to feel good. Nobody wants to be excluded from things."

CLC plans on taking some of its members to the new Cole Park playground once it's redone for a memory they'll never forget.

"We try to get them out so that they'll have that experience just like anybody else wants. One that they'll always remember because they don't get those opportunities as everyone else," Scott said.

Both the new playground and the splash pad will be completed in the early part of 2024.

The proposal went to the city where they approved of the bond that will fund the project. On Tuesday, June 13, the proposal will be presented to city council for final approval to get the boll rolling. The new playground is expected to last eight years.

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