Allison park playground reopens


Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Allison park playground reopens:

first adaptive and inclusive playground in miami beach

Miami Beach’s first adaptive and inclusive playground opened today at Allison Park. In addition to the ADA accessible playground at 6500 Collins Avenue, the park includes a new tailored dune crossing to provide beach access for everyone.
The project was championed by Sabrina Cohen and the Sabrina Cohen Foundation. Cohen, a native of Miami Beach, sustained a serious spinal cord injury in a car accident in 1992 when she was 14. She started her foundation in 2006 focusing on funding research and then later expanded it to include adaptive fitness and recreational quality of life initiatives for people living with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.
Commissioner Joy Malakoff said, “This playground is going to be for all children including those without sight or hearing as well as those with various different disabilities and challenges in their lives. I’m so happy that the City now will have one [that is] completely ADA accessible, and as we build other playgrounds more aspects will accessible.”
Commissioner John Alemán (above with Cohen) added, “This is how we should be doing – and I’m sure how we will do – all of our future playgrounds because we want all of our City of Miami Beach children to be able to play together and enjoy nature together.”
The opening was delayed while the City replaced the original mulch ground covering after residents complained it was being used by community cats as a litter box as well as concerns it was not wheelchair friendly. The park now has a rubberized mat surface.
“This was truly a collaborative work of everybody coming together and truly having our first adaptive playground for everybody to enjoy,” Commissioner Micky Steinberg said. “As a mother of two young children this is something very special and we’re looking forward to continuing having these components throughout all of our parks in Miami Beach.”
In introducing Cohen, City Manager Jimmy Morales said, “She has been a tireless advocate for accessibility in the City of Miami Beach – actually, frankly, around the region – and has been beyond instrumental in efforts to provide accessibility to the beaches and recreational facilities.”
Cohen said being a child is fun and creative and sometimes difficult. “Add a disability or additional challenges to that and life can be lonely. It can be, you know, living in a world of lack of self confidence and not feeling included.”
Beyond the playground equipment, she said, “This really is about signifying empowerment and including children and letting them grow up in an environment where they can feel confident and special like everybody else so really there’s a deep purpose to what’s happening here today. The Sabrina Cohen Foundation’s motto is ‘putting lives back into motion’ and that is what this is all about. We’re going to be welcoming children in an open space environment where they can play and thrive with their siblings and their families and their friends like everybody else. I’m really, really proud of that component.”
The park now complements the Foundation’s Adaptive Beach Days program which was started last year over the dune next to the park. Cohen said to date, “Over 2,000 families, friends, children, volunteers have participated in an all-inclusive environment where we welcome everybody to be included.”
She concluded the City has a lot to be proud of and thankful for as other cities are now looking to us as a model for accessible recreational facilities and beach access.
David Martinez, Director of Capital Improvement Projects for the City said of the park, “It definitely was a labor of love [for my team]” noting “a few challenges, a few changes, a little storm at the end”.
He emphasized, “100% of the trees were kept on the site. Some were moved around but all were kept.” During the construction, 37 trees were added, though, “Some of them took a little beating [from Hurricane Irma], but they’re coming back, I’m told.”
Martinez said with the nearby beachwalk construction, 15 trees will be relocated from the beachwalk into the park which includes 13 play structures in the enclosed playground area and 9 additional fitness activity stations in the general park area.
In honor of Cohen, the playground will be known as Sabrina’s Playground.

new playground surface for allison park approved


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
first fully accessble playground opening delayed

Allison Park groundbreaking


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
park to be City's first ADA accessible beach and outdoor recreational facility