Citywide Services Directory
The City of Los Angeles' Department of Recreation and Parks currently has several Universally Accessible Playgrounds where children of all abilities can play side-by-side. The Department has a goal of developing additional "Accessible Play" playgrounds and is working to identify more parks citywide which could be enlarged or otherwise accommodate installation of a mid-sized playground to help the vision become a reality.
The first west coast playground began with one mother. In March of 1997 Catherine Curry-Williams gave birth to a son, Shane, who died two weeks later of spinal muscular atrophy (a disorder that would have left him severely disabled had he survived). Catherine's sister-in-law sent her an article from an East Coast paper about another family who also lost a child. They had turned their grief into action by creating a playground.
Inspired by the story, Catherine and her husband Scott did their research and learned that there were no wheelchair-accessible playgrounds on the west coast. They decided to take action. Catherine joined with a friend, Tiffany Harris, and together they created a non-profit organization called SHANE'S INSPIRATION.
Their mission: To create a truly unique recreational environment in Los Angeles that provides an opportunity for children with disabilities to play at their highest level, enhancing their emotional, physical and social development, as well as teaching compassion and acceptance.
Catherine and Tiffany raised $1 million for their playground. Former Councilman Mike Feuer learned of their desire to build the playground in Griffith Park. He presented the motion to the City Council, which voted unanimously to allocate two acres of prime land in Griffith Park to the project.
According to Catherine, "Department staff worked with Shane's Inspiration (the organization) on a daily basis, in a seamless public/private partnership - cutting through obstacles and red tape. In many ways it was the best of both worlds. Our private funding made it possible for us to choose our contractors. The partnership with Recreation and Parks and former Councilman Feuer removed all bureaucratic obstacles. If we had to do this on our own, we would be years away from completion." Our first Universally Accessible Playground, Shane's Inspiration, opened on September 21, 2000.
Special thanks to www.shanesinspiration.org for their help with the Universally Accessible Playground images used on our UAP photo pages.