Growing up, many of us took our local parks for granted. In parks with playgrounds for example, the biggest concerns for many children were splinters, bee stings, and the static electricity produced by going down a slide. There was minimal thought to accessibility, and these parks were embraced for providing a free activity for families. However, it has become increasingly evident that not every community has had the same accessibility to and experience with local parks.
The challenges surrounding accessibility may be due to geographical location, socioeconomic status, or physical limitations. Jumpstart, a program dedicated to providing equal access to recreational activities and organized sports, has been aiding communities since 2005 (“About Us”). Recently, they were credited with providing 75 percent of the funds necessary in addressing the issue of accessibility in Bonner Fields (Dillon).
As the “trails capital of Canada,” Uxbridge, Ontario recognized the need to upgrade Bonner
Fields. A community park of over seven acres (“Parks Master Plan Background Report”), there was ample space for new development. However, as is the case with many parks and recreation departments across the country, funds were limited. This is where Jumpstart stepped in to assist and Sport Systems was invited to be a part of the effort.
Previously housing only two baseball diamonds, a pavilion, trails, and restrooms (“Parks
Master Plan Background Report”), Bonner Fields has now doubled its offerings. Not only has an
additional baseball diamond been provided, but a 13,200 square-foot facility has been created
to specifically cater to those who are visually impaired or experience physical disabilities
(Dillon). As part of the upgrade, new seating arrangements were provided for the park by Sport
Specializing in ADA-certified bleachers, our team arrived on-site to install two new sets of 5-row bleachers. These bleachers not only provide relief for participants using the facility, but also for any caretakers or spectators who are present to support the players. It is the hope of our team, as well as of Jumpstart and the town of Uxbridge, that a comfortable and accessible environment has been created for the community, providing the same positive experiences that many of us have come to associate with local parks.
“About Us.” Jumpstart, https://jumpstart.canadiantire.ca/pages/about.
Dillon, Moya. “New Multi-Sport Court Improves Accessibility for All in Uxbridge.”
DurhamRegion.com, 23 Dec. 2020, https://www.durhamregion.com/community-
“Parks Master Plan Background Report.” The Township of Uxbridge, Oct. 2017.