Prop 68 Funds Inclusive Play and Outdoor Fitness in Lompoc, California
As part of our ongoing GameTime Cares™ initiative, we're sharing a series of posts called Caring Communities. We work with many great people all over the continent to build parks and playgrounds. These are the stories of communities who care.
In a time when playgrounds throughout the country are closing, it’s difficult for communities to justify investments in public spaces. California, for example, is one of SIXTEEN U.S. states that have explicitly closed playgrounds statewide. These closures have impacted 23 million people under age 18 and over 106 million residents in total, which is 33% of the entire U.S. population. Thanks to Prop 68, playgrounds and outdoor recreation areas are still possible in California.
Investing in the Community
Although these numbers are troubling, there are certain cities, such as Lompoc, California, that serve as a beacon of hope for communities looking to invest in their community’s outdoor spaces. In fact, Lompoc recently completed construction on Beattie Park, which is now the largest inclusive playground in Santa Barbara County! The $740,000 project, which began on Aug. 31, was completed in conjunction with Great Western Recreation, GameTime's representative in California. The park will be a National Demonstration Site in three areas: inclusive play, outdoor fitness for adults, and physical activity for children.
The new inclusive playground at Beattie Park is the largest in Santa Barbara, County
Evaluating the Community Need
The residents of Lompoc have watched as their local parks and playground deteriorated and fell into a state of disrepair, but last year, the Lompoc Parks & Recreation Department decided to turn things around. They encouraged the community to provide input on upcoming parks renovations, and after listening to community feedback from multiple public meetings and an online survey which generated 645 responses, they decided on Beattie Park.
The community responses overwhelmingly supported the installation of an inclusive playground, an adult fitness area, and a picnic area which includes a gazebo, barbecue pit, concrete ping-pong tables and concrete tables with checkerboard tops.
“This new Beattie Park playground and fitness area belongs to the Lompoc community, and it’s important that we were able to incorporate the elements most important to those who will be using this recreation area,” Lompoc City Recreation Manager Mario Guerrero Jr. said in a statement to the Lompoc Record.
The playground at Beattie Park features an Altus Tower and play areas for ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12
The inclusive playground at Beattie Park features an enormous tower that has multiple levels with ramp access, as well as GameTime’s Sensory Wave Climber with integrated sensory panels. The playground also includes a roller slide, spiral tower slides, an arch disk swing, and an inclusive whirl, which is accessible to any child in a mobility device.
In addition to the playground equipment, the 50-acre park now includes the THRIVE 900 outdoor fitness system, which allows up to 20 people to achieve a full-body workout at the same time.
Prop 68 Propels Projects
GameTime has previously written about ways Proposition 68 funds can benefit local playgrounds in California, but the folks at Lompoc were two steps ahead of us, utilizing their Prop 68 Per Capita allocation of $185,000 to complete the project at Beattie Park. The city covered the entire cost of the renovations, but they expect to be reimbursed by the Prop 68 allocation, which was provided to every California community.
Beattie Park features a THRIVE outdoor fitness system for adults to exercise while children play
The Lompoc community has no plans to stop renovating either, considering city officials are applying for almost $10 million in Prop 68 funds for upcoming projects. Despite the difficulties of renovating and re-opening public spaces in a pandemic, the Lompoc community has shown their commitment to providing the spaces for residents of all abilities and backgrounds.
“Everything we create meets the basic ADA requirements, as all things should, but building an inclusive or universal play space is a bit more unique,” says Tyler Kyriopoulos, Great Western Recreation Principal Partner. “[The City of Lompoc] was looking to provide that for this community, and they chose this location as the center of inclusivity.”
Partners in Play
Thanks to the great work of community members and the abundance of funding from Prop 68, the City of Lompoc is able to create play environments that meet the needs of the community both currently and going forward. With the help of GameTime and Great Western Recreation, they are able to select the right playground equipment to align with leading research.
GameTime is honored to be part of Lompoc’s mission to prioritize play. If your community is inspired by their example, contact one of the GameTime play experts in your area.