Upcoming FrankTalks will take a look at growing need for inclusive playgrounds

Upcoming FrankTalks will take a look at growing need for inclusive playgrounds

PHOTO: Franklin is filled with traditional playgrounds, such as this one at Fieldstone Park, but Monday’s FrankTalks will focus on the significance of inclusive playgrounds. / Photo by John McBryde 


Hendersonville has one called Mary’s Magical Place. In Murfreesboro, one can be found within an outdoor complex known as Miracle Field.

They’re inclusive playgrounds; areas where children with limited abilities or special needs can have accessibility to a wide range of playground equipment and features.

At Monday’s Franklin Tomorrow FrankTalks session at High Hopes Development Center off South Royal Oaks Boulevard, these playgrounds will be up for discussion. The morning starts at 9 a.m. with a coffee social, followed by the program at 9:30 a.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour High Hopes at the end of the program.

Both the playground in Hendersonville and the complex in Murfreesboro were made possible through a private-public partnership. In the case of Miracle Field, Murfreesboro native and major league baseball player David Price led the way for its development through his foundation, Project One Four.

Mindy Tate, executive director for Franklin Tomorrow, said Franklin is the next logical place for one.

“We want to begin the collaboration with other organizations to look at how we would fund facilities that would be for the residents of Franklin and the surrounding area,” she said.

Playgrounds at this level take a “modern approach to accessibility for all abilities, ages and special needs,” Tate added.

Thus the choice for speakers at May’s FrankTalks.

Inclusive play areas are in the concept plan for the city of Franklin’s proposed Southeast Park, and Franklin Parks Director Lisa Clayton will provide an update of the park that will be located east of Interstate 65 on Carothers Parkway.

Also speaking are two representatives from Landscape Structures, a Minnesota-based company that, since its founding in 1971, has designed, manufactured and installed more than 80,000 playgrounds worldwide.

John McConkey, market research and insights manager, and Jill Moore, marketing specialist and inclusion specialist, will discuss the importance of inclusive play.

McConkey has over 15 years of experience in the health care field, and will offer perspective on inclusion, health, fitness and children’s play on the playground. He researches and tracks societal and industry trends to help create innovative design solutions.

Moore grew up near Charlotte, North Carolina, where she became involved with adaptive athletics at an early age. During her high school career, she helped to write the state regulations allowing those with disabilities to compete and score for their school track teams. Her love of track transitioned to a scholarship at the University of Illinois where she received her bachelors in industrial design.

To RSVP for FrankTalks, visit https://may13franktalks.eventbrite.com/.

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