Miami Beach City Commissioners gave the go-ahead to replace the wood mulch ground cover at the almost completed Allison Park with a rubberized material. The Parks and Facilities Advisory Board asked for the change after concerns that the mulch was not wheelchair friendly and that the local feral cat population was using it as a giant litter box.
There was some debate about whether the park should be opened in the meantime as children will be getting out of school soon for the summer, however, health concerns over the “litter box” situation and it’s inaccessibility to the disabled will keep it closed for another 3-4 months while the ground cover is replaced. In the meantime, Commissioners directed more landscaping be installed.
Sabrina Cohen, an advocate for adaptive fitness and recreation, told Commissioners, “We’ve actually come quite a long way to open this adaptive playground” and she praised the efforts of City staff and the Commission in building it. However, Cohen, who has been in a wheelchair since a car accident at the age of 14, said, “While it is open to the public, the project was spearheaded to become the first of a kind ADA compliant playground and my personal opinion is that it would kind of be an embarrassment to the community if you do open it prior to it being fully accessible to our entire community, an all-inclusive playground.”
Commissioner Joy Malakoff advocated for more landscaping while the park is undergoing the additional work. “When you look at it, it looks like a desert.” She said she would like to see more grassy areas, trees and hedges or bushes “so that it’s not just all brown. It should look attractive and be accessible both.”
Parks Director John Rebar said Staff originally recommended the rubberized surface but the material was changed by one of the land use boards that approved the project. “It was on the heels of the conversation of the safety of the rubber crumb in the artificial turf,” he said. “There was a lot going on at that time. It got caught up in a lot of reaction, a lot of conversations but we’re fixing it. That’s the important thing.”
new playground surface for allison park approved:
first fully accessble playground opening delayed
first adaptive and inclusive playground in miami beach