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San Clemente Journal

Courtney's Sandcastle Cuts the Ribbon on Phase II

Mar 23, 2015 09:55AM ● By Don Kindred

Council Members Lori Donchak and Kathleen Ward, cut the ribbon with Courtney.

Courtney’s SandCastle Universally Accessible Playground

Courtney’s SandCastle is a universal playground, which serves children of all abilities, and is especially designed for children with physical, mental and sensory disabilities.  Courtney’s SandCastle is named for Courtney Faye Smith who has been confined to a wheelchair because of a rare muscular degenerative disease – Spinal Muscular Atrophy. When Courtney and her friends visited local parks together, she was unable to participate because of her disabilities as are some 18,000 other children in Orange County with disabilities.

The San Clemente Junior Woman’s Club, the San Clemente Beaches & Parks Foundation, the City of San Clemente came together in 2004 to design and build a universally accessible playground. It was originally planned for Richard Steed Park in San Clemente, but is now part of the Vista Hermosa Sports Park & Aquatics Center. The playground was designed by Richard Fisher (who built many of the West’s premier universally accessible and traditional parks), and Summers/Murphy & Partners Inc.

Providing outdoor areas with sensory stimulation can encourage mental development, health improvements, emotional growth and social integration, in addition to increasing the learning motivation of a child. Research has also confirmed that outdoor play areas are important as a foundation for the education of children with special educational needs and with whom they can assist in reducing aggressive behavior and bullying.