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SANTA ANA : Disabled to Inaugurate 'Barrier-Free' Play Area

October 17, 1995|JEFF KASS

The city's first playground for disabled children, possibly the largest of its kind in the county, is expected to open this week in Carl Thornton Park.

As many as 300 children, about half of them disabled, from five city schools are expected Thursday to help open the park.

Of the 30 acres at the Segerstrom Avenue park, 2 1/2 have been set aside for the barrier-free area, so named because it will provide disabled children with easy access.

Instead of sand under the swing sets, for example, the area will be paved to allow for wheelchair access.

The barrier-free park area, when completed, is expected to cost about $2.5 million, said Kevin Eaton, an assistant city park planner.

The play area that opens Thursday, the first of three phases, was completed for $480,000.

The Santa Ana Kiwanis Club, which donated $30,000, first recommended the city create a barrier-free park about nine years ago.

"We wanted something the whole world could see, and something the county really needed," former club President Clint Hopson said.

Other Orange County cities have barrier-free play areas, but when completed, Santa Ana's will include a campground, a basketball court and a recreation room.

Additional money for the first phase came from the county and the city. Phases two and three also will be paid for with a combination of public and private money.

Hopson said the second phase should be completed by 1997, and phase three by 2000.

Thursday's dedication begins at 10 a.m. at 1801 W. Segerstrom Ave.

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