One of the Brazos Valley’s newest parks additions aimed at providing enjoyment for all residents has earned a statewide honor.
Those behind the City of College Station’s Fun for All Playground are the recipients of the Martha Arbuckle Award in the 2022 Lex Frieden Employment Awards (LFEA) through the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.
The Arbuckle Award honors an innovative local committee project. The Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation nominated the Fun for All effort in the 2022 LFEA, which recognize best practices in hiring and accommodation. The awards were presented in conjunction with the Texas HireAbility Employer Forum October 6 in Houston.
The Fun for All Playground, located in Stephen C. Beachy Central Park off State Highway 6, seeks to unite and engage people of different physical and cognitive abilities. With areas designed for children, teens and adults, it is the first all-access playground within 100 miles of the Brazos Valley. The nationally-recognized Parks and Recreation department of the City of College Station maintains the facility.
The public-private partnership to create the playground was originally initiated by the Rotary Club of College Station, the College Station Noon Lions Club, Kiwanis Club of College Station and the City of College Station. It grew to include all area Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs, other service organizations, a wide range of community and business partners, and Coach Blair Charities, founded by former Texas A&M Women’s Basketball Coach and multi-time Hall of Famer Gary Blair.
A multi-year process of conceptualizing, forging partnerships, fundraising and construction culminated in Phase 1 of the Fun for All Playground opening in August 2019. It includes various play equipment and a splash pad. Phase 2’s large playing field, areas for musical play and sensory activities, inclusive merry-go-rounds, and restrooms were completed in Fall 2020.
Phase 3 remains, with fundraising continuing for its fishing pier, quiet area, stick forest and additional play areas.
"The City of College Station and the Brazos Valley as a whole work diligently to maintain and improve the quality of life of all our citizens,” said College Station Mayor Karl Mooney. “The Fun for All Playground is not only a prime showcase of our dedication on that front, but also demonstrates how citizens, community groups, businesses and local government can work together, achieve and advance this place we call home."
“Thank you to the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities for recognizing the team effort to make the Fun for All Playground a reality,” said Fun for All Playground Publicity Chair Lisa Aldrich in accepting the Arbuckle Award. “In the Brazos Valley, we come together each day to make big things possible for our growing community, and Fun for All is another great example of this.”