Thanks to $1 million each from Liberty Mutual Insurance and the City of Plano, a new playground is now open that gives kids with disabilities a new universally accessible place to play together and enjoy outdoor activities.
Liberty Playground covers two acres in the new Windhaven Meadows Park in Plano, and meets five elements of play: social/emotional, physical, sensory, cognitive, and communication.
The playground exceeds ADA requirements, featuring 40 percent sensory play activities and 60 percent physical play structures. Its 20,000 square feet of dedicated accessible play areas include dozens of pieces of equipment.
Within the area is a sensory garden with wood play elements, water table, and stream with spray features, comprising 1,800 square feet of water activities. Older and younger children each have their own designated spaces, which encourages age-appropriate learning, risk-taking, and motor-skill development.
The area has more than 50 new shade trees, as well as a lawn, seat walls, benches, café tables, and shade structures. Windhaven Meadows Park, at 5400 Windhaven Parkway, also houses a five-acre dog park, a spacious pavilion area, and ample parking.
Not far from the playground, Liberty Mutual, a Boston-headquartered insurance giant, recently opened a massive two-tower regional campus in Plano that covers nearly 1 million square feet of space.
“Philanthropy is deeply ingrained in who we are both as a company and as individuals, and we’ve been committed to advancing access for people of all abilities since Liberty’s formation over a century ago,” Liberty Mutual Chairman and CEO David Long said in a statement. “In that same spirit, we’re extremely proud to partner with the city of Plano to unveil this inclusive playground, and to change and enrich lives, together.”
In the past 10 years, Liberty Mutual and its employees have contributed nearly $500 million to more than 1,200 nonprofits and thousands of organizations through its Give with Liberty program. Each act intends to recognize those that empower people experiencing homelessness, advance access for people with disabilities, and expand educational opportunities for underserved students.
Liberty Mutual said that the Playground is the second universally accessible playground of its kind funded by the company. In November 2014, it provided the cornerstone donation of $1 million for the City of Boston’s first universally accessible playground at the Charlestown Navy Yard.
Liberty’s newest playground opened Monday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Included among those on-hand for the opening were Long, Liberty Mutual Foundation President Melissa MacDonnell, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, and 17-time U.S. Paralympic Medalist Tatyana McFadden.
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