Pah Rah Mountain Park is one of the more than 50 parks in the City of Sparks’ 587 acre parks system. It was built in 1988 and features an extensive walking path popular with outdoor enthusiasts and several levels of playfields for a variety of activities. Additional amenities include a volleyball court, basketball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts, horseshoe pits and restrooms.
In October of 2012, the City of Sparks unveiled a new universally accessible playground at Pah Rah Mountain Park. Close to a decade ago, a sixth-grade student named Corrine who attended Jerry Whitehead Elementary School (which borders the park) wrote a letter to the Sparks Parks and Recreation Department with a special request; to have playgrounds be more accessible to children with disabilities. That request became a reality with the opening of the playground.
"When I met with Corrine and her mother all those years ago, I was struck by her maturity as a sixth-grader in a wheelchair,” said Tracy Domingues, Director of Sparks Parks and Recreation. “She was fully aware that when and if such a playground was built, she would not benefit from it as a child. She wanted something better for future generations.”
More than 400 children – Whitehead’s entire student body – joined Sparks Mayor Geno Martini and the City Council for the grand opening of the all inclusive park, which also recognized October as Disabilities Awareness Month. Once the ribbon was cut, the children experienced firsthand the benefits of a fully-integrated playground that Corrine had hoped others would have the opportunity to enjoy.
The 9,500 square foot play environment is filled with options to swing, climb, spin and much more. The City of Sparks worked with Recreation Republic, Inc. to create the accessible area for children to play, learn and interact together.
Play equipment by Goric, KOMPAN and Elephant Play ranges from a carousel with wheelchair access to a play system that allows children to climb up, over and around an entire structure without ever touching the ground. There’s also a swing set with fully accessible seats and a rotating deck with net which replaces the merry-go-round of yesteryear with an all inclusive social climbing experience.
The playground also features an artificial turf surface to make it easily accessible for all users, particularly those in wheelchairs.
Pah Rah Park was selected for the new playground as it is centrally located near three elementary schools that offer classes for children with disabilities. The project’s $503,000 budget was financed within the City of Sparks Capital Improvement Plan.
Since the park’s opening, it has been a popular location with kids trying out the new equipment.
“Seeing children of all abilities having fun playing side-by-side has been wonderful,” said Domingues. “It’s my understanding that Corrine is raising a family in Sparks and I hope that she will one day be able to visit the park and experience everything it has to offer her and her family - and our community.”
|Location:||1750 Shadow Lane|
|Park size:||13.06 acres|