Providence Health Care Supports Inclusive Play Space at Riverfront Park

$1 million community benefit grant awarded to Spokane Parks Foundation

Media contact: Fianna Dickson, 509.625.6297,

Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 8:24 a.m.

Providence Health Care (PHC), through a $1 million community benefit grant, is investing in the creation of an inclusive play space for people of all abilities and ages in Spokane’s Riverfront Park.

Providence, Spokane Parks Foundation and Riverfront Park are working together to establish an enriching play space to support the physical, social and emotional needs of all, including people who have disabilities. The space will include sensory-rich areas for play, as well as quiet spaces for relaxing and exploring. While a name has not been determined, a nature theme has been selected.

“This will be a destination space where people of all abilities and ages can have fun,” says Peg Currie, Providence Health Care chief operating officer. “Providence is here for our community when they are sick or injured. This is our opportunity to support a space for health, wellness and connectedness for all community members.”

To ensure community input, a public open forum was held in June, and children of all abilities and ages submitted drawings and ideas of their most favorite play spaces. A community-based team has been formed to provide input including, child-life specialists, physical, occupational and recreational therapists, dementia experts and parents of children who have disabilities.

“As a parent of a child who utilizes a wheelchair, I try to avoid saying ‘no’ to so many activities, and when it comes to accessibility, our kids hear “no” a lot,” says Kayleen Campbell, mom of 17-year old Katie who has been diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and hip dysplasia. “In this space, my daughter and people of all abilities will be able to play and socialize without restrictions. This is such a needed play space in our community.”

Studies have proven that integrated play helps develop:

  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Receptive communication skills
  • Cerebral functions
  • Physical strength, coordination and balance
  • Social skills including independence and self esteem

“Making the new Riverfront Spokane accessible to everyone has been a driving force – a way to create shared experiences that connect us all,” says Ted McGregor Jr., chairman of the Spokane Park Board’s Riverfront Park Committee and a board member of the Spokane Parks Foundation. “This new play space may be the purest example of that, and it’s only happening thanks to the generosity of Providence and its 130-plus years of devotion to our communities.”

Initial ground-breaking is expected this fall with completion in fall 2020. Providence Health Care, Spokane Parks Foundation, and Spokane Parks & Recreation are collaborating with Shane’s Inspiration, a non-profit organization that designs inclusive playgrounds in the United States and throughout the world.