New accessible, kid-designed playspace brings joy to area children after months of playground closures
San Bernardino, California – May 17, 2021 – Kids in San Bernardino are celebrating because they have a new, exciting place to play. For more than a year, representatives from the City of San Bernardino, the LA Kings, LA Galaxy, and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians collaborated with KABOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to playspace equity, to open an accessible playground at Lionel E. Hudson Park.
In January 2020, kids from the community participated in Design Day, an event where they contributed drawings of their dream playgrounds. These drawings were then used as an inspiration for the design of the playspace at Lionel E. Hudson Park. The play space includes climbing apparatus, musical elements, logic games, and slides. Accessibility features include a wheelchair glider, accessible swing, and ADA-compliant ramps and sidewalks from parking lot to playground. This inclusive space will spark hope and enable kids to reach their full potential through the power of play.
“It has been a difficult year for everyone, especially for our children who have shown their resilience with smiles at drive-thru programs offered in the local community,” said Jim Tickemyr, City of San Bernardino Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services. “This new playground will bring children of all abilities together to play and laugh. To see children at play once again will be music to our hearts.”
When children were no longer able to visit playgrounds due to COVID-19 restrictions, the City of San Bernardino Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department pivoted to serving area children through Grab ‘n Go art activities and virtual physical fitness challenges.With COVID-19 restrictions being relaxed, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and unveiling celebration will take place on Saturday, May 22, at 11 a.m.
“We know disasters and crises often exacerbate the inequities that communities are already experiencing, and in many communities, kids won’t have a playground to go back to once the COVID-19 crisis is over,” says James Siegal, CEO of KABOOM!. “We must stop the playspace inequities from becoming even deeper after we get through this pandemic, giving every kid the chance to play and just enjoy being a kid.”
The project partners believe that play is essential to the development, resilience, and health of children. Communities hit the hardest by the pandemic have been communities of color that may lack access to parks and playspaces due to historic disinvestment. This playspace not only works to help end playspace inequity but also creates a new place for kids to play that reflects the neighborhood’s unique needs and aspirations.
“The LA Kings and LA Galaxy are excited to team up with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and KABOOM! to build an inclusive playground in the city of San Bernardino,” says Kelly Cheeseman, COO of AEG Sports, owners of the NHL and MLS franchises. “We believe it is essential that all children have the opportunity to play safely and we are thrilled that Hudson Park will now serve the entire community.”
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians contributed $200,000 as part of its ongoing philanthropic efforts to support San Bernadino and the greater Inland Empire commuity. Additional contributions from the LA Kings, the Galaxy, KABOOM! and the city of San Bernadino helped make the project possible.
“The Spirit of Yawa’ – to act on one’s beliefs – inspires us to improve the quality of life here in our ancestral lands of San Bernardino,” said San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez. “Offering children safe, enriching places to play and develop physically, socially and emotionally will benefit our community far into the future.”
To ensure that playgrounds can open safely in every community, KABOOM! has issued important playground guidance that communities, playground owners/operators, and caregivers can follow. The guidance can be viewed or downloaded at kaboom.org/reopen.
About City of San Bernardino
The City of San Bernardino is a community rich in history and cultural diversity. Influences of Native Americans, Mexican settlers, Spanish missionaries and Mormon emigrants can still be seen throughout the City today. From the day in 1810 when Franciscan missionary Father Dumetz named the area San Bernardino to the present, San Bernardino – nestled south of the San Bernardino Mountains and west of the lower desert – has been recognized for its scenic beauty and strategic location. Today, the City of San Bernardino serves as the county seat and is the largest city in the County of San Bernardino with a population of over 213,000. http://www.ci.san-bernardino.ca.us/about/default.asp
About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. As an indigenous community the origins and history of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians stem from our relationship with the land and to all who share it. Since ancient times we have expressed ourselves through a culture of giving. Today, San Manuel is able to answer the call of Yawa' (Serrano word meaning “to act on one's beliefs”) through partnerships with charitable organizations. We have drawn upon our history, knowledge, expertise and cultural values to direct our philanthropic giving in our local region, as well as to Native American causes nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.sanmanuel-nsn.gov.
About Kings Care Foundation
The mission of Kings Care Foundation (Federal Tax ID # 95-4443065) is to support families in Los Angeles by dedicating financial and in-kind resources to services and programs. To that end, the LA Kings Hockey Club reinvests in LA-based non-profits with the following shared goals: wellness, sustainability, advocacy and inclusion. Since 1996, Kings Care Foundation has invested over $15M in the community.
About LA Galaxy Foundation
The Los Angeles Galaxy Foundation (LAGF), the official nonprofit of the LA Galaxy, strives to serve the community in which the team works and plays. Through soccer programing that promotes inclusion for all athletes, education opportunities, and a strong spirit of volunteerism, LAGF is proud to facilitate over 150 events annually and has donated over $5 million to support the local Los Angeles community. For additional information, please visit www.lagalaxy.com
KABOOM! is the national non-profit that works to achieve playspace equity. Kids who don’t have access to play miss out on childhood and are denied critical opportunities to build physical, social and emotional health. And all too often, it more deeply affects communities of color. So we amplify the power of communities to build inspiring playspaces that spark unlimited opportunities for every kid, everywhere. KABOOM! has teamed up with partners to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces, engage more than 1.5 million community members and bring joy to more than 11 million kids.