Legacy Parks Foundation broke ground last week on the Intergenerational Playspace at Beverly Park in north Knoxville. It will be the first park in the region to be purposefully designed to create active interactions between multiple generations, especially children and seniors.
The Playspace will feature an ellipse shaped central activity area surrounded by a walking track with handrail. Inside the ellipse will be the therapeutic zone and play area featuring equipment for both intergenerational play and physical exercise. The Playspace overlooks the newly added dog park and will connect to the existing paved loop. Benches and a walking Storybook Trail feature will be added to the loop encouraging visitors to walk the loop to read the story – an ideal intergenerational activity.
Legacy Parks was awarded a $150,000 two phase grant from the Trinity Health Foundation to research, design and create the Playspace.
Humana awarded Legacy Parks an additional $20,000 to sponsor the therapeutic zone which will feature rehabilitative physical exercise equipment and activities for low impact, body weight exercises to focus on balance, muscle tone, and fall prevention.
Hillcrest Healthcare is sponsoring the soft-surface walking path around the Playspace in honor of Mark Walker for his 16 years of service on their Board of Directors.
Siddiqi Foundation committed $25,000 to fund the music garden which will feature chimes, drums, xylophone and other sound equipment for adults and children of all ages to make music together.
Studies show that people of all ages benefit from increased physical activity, access to vitamin D, fresh air, and the reduction of health risk factors associated with outdoor activity. Research on intergenerational play specifically, has shown that children display higher levels of language and problem-solving skills when they have lots of contact with adults. Intergenerational play also shifts play from being a competitive activity to a more playful one.
The benefits are not just for children – playful interactions can also benefit older adults, supporting better health and social engagement, preventing cognitive decline, and creating multigenerational learning opportunities. “This park will encourage community members of all ages and abilities to come together to play, socialize, participate in physical activity and be outside,” explained Carol Evans, Legacy Parks’ executive director.
The intent of the park’s design is to create a place for rehabilitation and reflection, a place for generations to interact through activity, to stimulate the brain, body and the senses with a variety of physical, visual, audible, and cognitive experience for all generations, and to take full advantage of all the benefits of being outdoors in nature.
The entire community will benefit from the activities provided – adults with mobility and physical rehabilitation issues, active adults, families, and children will all enjoy the recreational experiences in a beautiful public space.
The Intergenerational Playspace is slated to open by October 2023.