Imagine an all inclusive playground built to suit the needs of all children, at any age, with a focused consideration for children with special needs–a universal play adventure that brings children together and helps them build self-confidence, make friends, and play as equals. That’s exactly what Jenni Jensen set out to do after grappling with the fact that there simply weren’t many play opportunities for her daughter, Nora, who is diagnosed with Downs Syndrome. Residing in Frisco, Texas, Jenni discovered a wealth of resources and other citizens who were ready and willing to help her dream become a reality. Rene Sinclair and Shannon Swarbrick joined Jenni by teaming up to spearhead bringing an all-inclusive playground to Frisco! Our design firm, Leathers & Associates, is proud to have been chosen as the design firm for Hope Park!
Hope Park is the result of careful planning and consideration for children with a wide variety of special needs. The 15,000 square foot all inclusive playground is designed using sensory-rich play components and accessible structures and features such as wheelchair accessible ramps, rubberized surfacing, Soundplay accessible instruments, a roller slide, and specially designed swings. The hope is children of all abilities will be able to play alongside their peers and with their parents in a safe, yet rewarding, environment. Be sure to read the book, One Park for All, by local author and illustrator Kristan Olfers and Karen Dodson which reached readership all the way in Japan. All proceeds from the sale of this book went to funding the all-inclusive playground at Hope Park.
Here’s what visitors and parents are saying about Hope Park:
“My favorite thing at Hope Park is hearing my 3 year old niece hit the bongo drums while screaming ‘Aunt Janet, thank you, thank you, thank you for building this park!” – Janet K.
“My favorite thing about Hope Park is the covered picnic area where you can see both old and new park areas.” – Mandy R.
“The specially designed slides for the hearing impaired [is my favorite thing]. I think that was a brilliant and extremely thoughtful add to what is already an amazing place to learn and play. I wish I’d have had exposure to such a place as a child. I’ve lived my life not truly understanding the simple things I am so fortunate to have. The awareness my niece Nora and this park have brought to so many people is life changing!!!” – Jana L.
“I love how everything is open enough for the parents to go through with the kids.” – Jill M.
We pride ourselves in creating unique and innovative play spaces that are imagined by children and built by community–and Hope Park is no exception! Hope Park’s community build took place over the course of 10 days, April 5-14, 2013, and they held their Grand Opening celebration a little less than a month later on May 11th. Friendship Park, also a Leathers playground, was updated and renovated during this time and is directly adjacent to Hope Park. We want to give a big shout out to all those that planned, organized, and labored to make Hope Park a reality. Carrie Moore, project manager from Leathers, along with Marc Leathers, owner, Kyle Cundy, Bill Hugill, Justin Fowler, Larry Mattingly, and Allie Van Wagoner (all from Leathers) were all on hand to assist with the build. View the gallery below on our website for images from the Grand Opening celebration.
Be sure to visit Hope Park, located in Frisco, Texas whenever you’re in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Hope Park and Friendship Park are both located at 8000 McKinney Road, Frisco, TX 75034. Visit Hope Park’s Facebook page for more information.