Anderson Park Committee Make Headway on Inclusive Playground Project

November 2018


To revitalize the City of Essex Playground 'Anderson Park' to become a more inclusive play space for the whole community to enjoy regardless of abilities and to support the arts through the creation of a music park.

Project Team:

The committee for the City of Essex is led by Lori Johnson and Janine Johnson (not related). Current committee support is provided by Carol York, Patti Gay, Tish Glasgo, Matthew Quick, and Lisa Nelson. Many other community members have helped to support the project through donating their time and expertise to the project.

A City of Essex Playground Committee have begun to see their vision for a new and revitalized city park come to life as Anderson Park becomes home to a new musical playground.

Building Community Spirit

Over the years Anderson Park had become increasingly run down and the city was struggling with vandalism in the park. After research the committee determined that through improving the park’s environment and by increasing its use and making it appealing for all ages, would in turn build a stronger sense of community around the park and help decrease the vandalism.

Inclusive Playground

Supporters, sponsors and donors were also aware there was a need for more inclusive play opportunities in the area and decided they wanted to include enhanced play options into the revitalization plan. Having been introduced to Percussion Play and the concept of outdoor musical instruments through local Play Company ABCreative, the committee saw an opportunity to provide a unique feature in their park and so went ahead and selected the instruments based on their inclusivity, accessibility, and durability and chose a Large Babel Drum, Duo Xylophone and Soprano Pentatonic Freechimes

Janine Johnson said “I’m proud to announce the installation of the first phase of the Anderson Park playground, which will extend those opportunities for play and recreation to more members of our community. We were especially interested in the ability to provide sensory play for children with cognitive conditions. Our long-term goal is to make the items more accessible to wheelchair users with pathways that allow people with a range of mobility, visual, sensory, and other needs to be able to play.”

Supporting the Arts

The committee also felt that the creation of a music park was an opportunity to support the music arts. “When communities cut programs, the music and arts are typically the first to be cut. These instruments will provide a small but effective opportunity to expose children to music.” Johnson continued.

The money for Percussion Play instruments came from a combination of local grant funding (Hockenberry Foundation), private donations from several individuals, and a budget allowance from the City of Essex

It is anticipated that the music park and the Percussion Play items will be ready to use by November 12.