Terrapin Foundation and Ken Hays join Mayor Finch to Celebrate Ground-Breaking for the All-Access Playground at Beardsley Park

8/3/2015 –  Mayor Finch Celebrates Construction on New All-Access Playground in Beardsley Park (1:00 p.m.)

“It’s important to ensure that all of our children have access to the same opportunities. This new playground, which has been a collaborative effort from the start, will provide a fun, safe and inclusive environment for kids and families of Bridgeport to enjoy.” – Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch

  • WHO: Mayor Finch, City Council members, Isabell Richardson, community leaders.
  • WHAT: Groundbreaking ceremony for new all-access playground at Beardsley Park.
  • WHERE: Beardsley Park, Bridgeport, Conn.
  • WHEN: Monday, August 3rd, at 1:00 p.m.

Bridgeport, Conn. (August 3, 2015) – Mayor Finch will join community leaders today for a groundbreaking ceremony in Beardsley Park to mark the beginning of construction on a new, all-access playground to be built in the park.

All-access playgrounds use innovative design to allow all children, regardless of their abilities, access to use the equipment. The playground will include sensory-stimulating activities that give children a chance to learn and grow while they play.

The playground will be made in honor of the late Aaron J. Richardson, who used a wheelchair all his life until he died when he was just nine years old.

“It’s important to ensure that all of our children have access to the same opportunities,” said Mayor Finch. “This new playground, which has been a collaborative effort from the start, will provide a fun, safe and inclusive environment for kids and families of Bridgeport to enjoy.”

Mayor Finch and City Council President Tom McCarthy  have worked closely with Aaron’s mother, Isabell, on the planning of the new playground, hosting community meetings with St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services, The Kennedy Center, and members of the Commission for People with Disabilities and the Parks Commission.

More than six million children in the country have some type of disability that makes it hard or impossible for them to enjoy traditional playgrounds. With the all-access model, these kids will not miss out on the opportunity to play. Studies show that playgrounds are important in improving kids’ physical, cognitive and social skills.

A portion of the funding for the new playground was provided by The Terrapin Foundation.

The new playground is just one of the many renovations being made to Bridgeport’s parks under Mayor Finch’s leadership. His administration has already created or improved over 100 acres of parkland for the city. Other projects include new playgrounds at Curiale School, Wilbur Cross, and Puglio Park, which also includes an accessible playground.

These park improvements are part of Mayor Finch’s efforts to make sure every family has a park within walking distance from their home.

recent study by Fairfield University shows that having a park close to a business or home can lead to higher property values.

Studies have also shown that parks serve as an economic catalyst for neighborhoods, attracting investments and economic development to the area.