The Town of Oro Valley will hold a focus group on Sept. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. to solicit community opinions on accessible playground equipment for a new playground. The meeting will take place in the town council chambers at Town Hall, 11000 N. La CaƱada Drive.

In June 2011, the Town was awarded a $25,000 grant from The Keg Steakhouse & Bar's Thanks A Million! grant program to build a universally accessible playground at James D. Kriegh Park.

This project was designed to fulfill the need in the community for this type of facility, as the closest accessibility-designed playground is more than seven miles away. The accessible playground will be 40 feet by 60 feet, and will be located adjacent to another large playground area within the park in order to allow easy access to all playground amenities.

This design will also facilitate social inclusion and interaction among children and their families in Oro Valley and the surrounding area.

The playground will be constructed on "Tot Turf," a synthetic, rubberized cement surface that is used for playground safety. The playground equipment will be chosen in consultation with user groups.

The budget for the construction of this project is approximately $10,000 for the playground equipment and $15,000 for the purchase and installation of the Tot Turf surface. Labor and associated tasks will be provided by town staff, service club volunteers, and community residents.

This project will be completely constructed and open to the public within the required one-year time frame of the grant.

Town staff has been in the process of obtaining quotes from vendors of accessible playground equipment within the first two months of the grant being awarded. Staff will survey potential users, park patrons, and volunteers to ascertain the types of equipment that they would like to see installed within the playground area.

While these current park patrons have expressed interest in certain types of equipment, such as equipment that is similar to that in Jacobs Park in the City of Tucson, it may not be the most appropriate or desired equipment for the users in the Oro Valley community.

In addition, budgetary constraints may play a role in the equipment decision. It is anticipated that at least two pieces of equipment will be installed for this project.

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