Summit Orthopedics Supports the East Metro’s First Handicap-Accessible Playground

In June 2016, we celebrate the grand opening of Madison’s Place, the St. Paul Area’s first inclusive playground designed to welcome all children, including those with autism and mobility issues.

As the school year ends and summer begins, children look forward to sunny days filled with play and laughter. All children deserve to romp with their siblings and pals, but traditional playground surfaces filled with rocks, sand, and woodchips have excluded children in wheelchairs and those with other mobility and cognitive issues. Those hurdles were removed with the opening of Madison’s Place Playground at the HealthEast Sports Center in Woodbury, Minnesota.

One out of every 10 children has a disability that excludes them from joining their peers to enjoy traditional playgrounds. After Dana Millington’s daughter Madison was born with spinal muscular atrophy, she founded the Madison Claire Foundation with a vision for a playground where all children, including those with physical and developmental disabilities, could play together. In partnership with Summit Orthopedics and other business and community leaders, the foundation raised $830,000 to develop and build Madison’s Place Playground at the HealthEast Sports Center. The ramped play destination is stairs-free and features equipment designed to allow children of all ages and abilities to play together, fostering friendships and learning acceptance.

Summit Orthopedics joined other corporate Gold Sponsors to fund the innovative playground’s wheelchair-friendly rubber surfacing, wheelchair ramp access, and special playground equipment geared to children of all ages and physical abilities. Some of the playground’s special features include:

  • A Cozy Dome® and Oodle® Swings designed for children with autism
  • A sensory wall with music and custom-designed sensory tunnel
  • Double biplanes for kids needing core body support
  • A roller slide that doubles as a physical therapy tool
  • A SwayFan boat designed for wheelchairs

Madison’s Place Playground opened on June 4, 2016, with a festive picnic celebration featuring dozens of balloons, summery scoops of ice cream, and face-painting activities. Five hundred people came out to enjoy the launch of this cheerful and innovative St. Paul play space. For many children with special needs, this was their first playground experience. Seeing the joy on their faces was the most rewarding aspect of our collaboration, and we invite all Twin Cities families to enjoy this welcoming recreational addition to our community.

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