All Abilities Trane Park
La Crosse, MN
Envisioned as an all ages and all abilities park – this space is bringing together kids, families, friends and loved ones in a safe and accessible inclusive play environment. Born from a need to accommodate kids with autism in a safe and secure park – members of the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation approached the city stating a need for a new type of park that addressed the needs of everyone. Today we can say that the city and community stepped up in a really BIG way!
Our design team, in collaboration with River Architects, worked closely with a diverse stakeholder group, including people from the local healthcare industry, school system, autism foundation, business community, and parents of kids with autism and special needs. Their input was incredibly valuable, their passion for the project infectious, and we are forever humbled by their steadfast commitment to the project.
We transformed a previously flat open grassy field into a dynamic park space carved into the landscape to provide embankment play, rolling topography, enhanced sightlines, and a play environment immersed in a native landscape. The gated park is surrounded by fencing – providing clear boundaries for children and peace of mind for parents. The play equipment was exhaustively researched and carefully selected for its ability to accommodate everyone – including those with limited mobility and special needs. A children’s theater anchors the park and is centered around an existing large white oak that was preserved throughout construction. Respite pods provide children with autism an escape from the activity if play becomes overwhelming. A looping trail circumnavigates the space providing adults the opportunity to walk around this beautifully landscaped park as their children play – and an adult fitness zone was donated by AARP – further expanding the objective to accommodate all ages.
Everybody has the right to play – and this community and the design we created for Trane Park – has sought to fulfill that mission.
Client & Collaborators
La Crosse Parks and Recreation
Fowler and Hammer
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