Arroyo Verde Park’s inclusive playground receives Project of the Year Award

Arroyo Verde Park’s main play structure was destroyed in the Thomas Fire.

The recently completed first-ever inclusive playground in Ventura at Arroyo Verde Park received the 2021 Project of the Year Award from the Ventura County Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) in the structures category for its safety performance, effective construction management, environmental considerations, and community outreach.

During the City Council meeting on May 9, APWA Ventura County director at large Andrew Grubb shared that, “this project stood out for its inclusive play area with unique considerations to children with sensory and cognitive needs along with the community support and donations received for the playground’s replacement after the Thomas Fire.”

The APWA Project of the Year Award distinguishes the project’s efficient and effective construction management techniques, schedule mitigation amid COVID-19 supply chain challenges, construction management, control techniques, jobsite safety practices, and a demonstrated commitment to sustainability.

The 10,750 square foot play area at Arroyo Verde Park features a colorful play surface, new landscaping, gathering areas, swings, hammocks, balance beams, a sensory garden, a motion-inclusive carousel, embankment climbers, and music play areas. It also features a sensory wall with recognition tiles dedicated to those who donated to the project.

In December 2017, Arroyo Verde Park’s main play structure was destroyed in the Thomas Fire. Rather than rebuilding the same structure, the City of Ventura decided to re-imagine the space and create the first fully inclusive play area in Ventura; a space where the community could have fun together without barriers.

The Parks and Recreation Department engaged with the community to understand which features they would most like included in the rebuild. Families, community members, medical professionals, and playground manufacturers were included in the playground design conversations. Extensive renderings and options were presented at neighborhood council meetings, and community feedback was gathered to capture the heart and soul of the project.

To learn more about this project, visit

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