City’s First Fully Accessible Playground Opens at Hovey Park
On Wednesday, September 22, 2021, City officials and Centralville residents gathered at Hovey Park to cut the ribbon a new, fully renovated playground. The new play area, located at 266 Aiken Avenue, represents the City’s first universally accessible playground, meaning that it far exceeds ADA accessibility requirements and is designed to be enjoyed by children of all abilities.
Prior to the renovation, the play equipment at Hovey Park was the oldest in the City, dating back to the 1940s or ‘50s, according to estimates. The park was targeted for renovation and identified as a suitable location for the first fully accessible playground through the City’s 2019 Open Space and Recreation Plan.
The renovation which, in addition to new play equipment, includes new seating and landscaping, represents a roughly $625,000 invest. In 2019, the City received a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Grant which funded the majority of the project. Additional City capital funds were appropriate in the FY2020 for the project.
The project was led by Yovani Baez-Rose of the Department of Planning and Development. The City contracted with Crowley Cottrell, LLC for design of the play area, and with Sciaba Construction for construction services. The design process included multiple public input forums and community surveys to ensure that the project reflect the priorities and preferences of the neighborhood.
Members of the City of Lowell’s Disability Commission were also on hand for the ribbon cutting. The Commission was instrumental in elevating the need for a fully accessible playground in the City in recent years.
City Councilor, Chair of the City Council Subcommittee on Parks and Recreation, presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony, saying, “I am delighted that this long-neglected park with the oldest play equipment has been revamped to suit the needs of the Centralville neighborhood.”
City Manager Eileen Donoghue commended those involved in the project, and has expressed a commitment to actively pursuing improvements to parks throughout the City identified in the Open Space and Recreation Plan.