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Murphy-Oakley Community Center’s inclusive playground is coming soon

The playground, designed to be accessible to people of all abilities, will soon be ready for play.

The redesigned murphy-oakley community center playground showing wheelchair accessible sidewalks, a rubber floor, and play areas like slides and canopies.

The new playground features wheelchair accessible entry and a music area.

Photo via Asheville Parks and Recreation

Asheville Parks and Recreation (APR) will soon debut the city’s first playground designed for people of all abilities. Found at Murphy-Oakley Community Center (749 Fairview Rd.), the new design is meant to provide a more inclusive and equitable experience for people with disabilities and conditions like autism and sensory processing disorder, motor impairments, Down syndrome, and visual impairments.

The project was funded through a 2016 general obligation bond to upgrade parks and community centers throughout Asheville.

What’s included

Here are some of the features you can expect to see at the redesigned playground:

  • New sidewalks and a rubber surface to make the playground accessible to people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility
  • A “serenity spot” for playground visitors to have a peaceful place to take a break
  • Musical instruments and areas designated for cognitive play

Murphy-Oakley Community Center is also home to APR’s Therapeutic Recreation programs, which offer a variety of cooking, crafting, and adaptive sports opportunities for kids and adults with disabilities. In 2023, the program served more than 620 participants — check out the current schedule.

View of the murphy-oakley community center playground

The playground also includes slides and a spinning net climber.

Photo via Asheville Parks and Recreation

Opening day

Installation of the playground is nearly complete, and once the final inspection is passed, it will be ready for the community to enjoy. It’s expected to open sometime during the coming month, but follow APR on Instagram and Facebook to stay in the know about an official date.

If you prefer to celebrate the playground’s opening with free ice cream, though, put Tuesday, June 25 on your calendar. The grand opening celebration kicks off at 1:30 p.m. with comments from APR director D. Tyrell McGirt, open play time, and sweet treats from Annie B’s Homemade Ice Cream.

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