It was a perfect summer morning in the park as more than 75 neighbors, kids and city officials gathered Wednesday to cut the ribbon and open the new Seaview Park inclusive play area, the first of its kind in Edmonds.
“This used to be a tired old play area,” said Carrie Hite, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director. “We wanted to make it something special for the neighborhood, and more than that, to make it accessible to all. We worked closely with the neighbors in Seaview, and designed the park with them in mind. While the planning has been in process for some time, work actually got underway this past January and today we’re able to officially open what I believe will become a model for future play areas in our city.”
Mayor Dave Earling was on hand, calling this a “magnificent addition” to the city’s park system.
“I really want to recognize the community for their help and advice as this project came together,” Earling said. “With today’s opening kids and parents can come together to play, talk, laugh, and enjoy the park for what parks are supposed to be — a community gathering place.”
Also joining in was City Councilmember Mike Nelson, one of the driving forces behind creating this inclusive play area.
“When I heard from some in the community that their special-needs children couldn’t use the old play area, it broke my heart,” he said. “Every child should have access to a playground. This special place overcomes that barrier, allowing children of all abilities to learn, play and be together.”
Then it was time to cut the ribbon, and city officials passed the honor of wielding the ceremonial scissors to young Jacob Kuehn and his family. Jacob’s disabilities require that he be in a walker, and the old playground didn’t give him much opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of a morning in the park. But that’s different now, and his megawatt smile really shone through as he explored and found new opportunities at every turn.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel