Sugar Land Rotary Club Universally Accessible Playground


Universally Accessible Playground at First Colony Park

With the help of The Jabez Foundation, the Fort Bend Junior Service League, area Rotary Clubs, The George Foundation, Minute Maid and more, the Universally Accessible Playground at First Colony Park provides a place where children of all ages, races, cultures and abilities can play together and foster friendships in a welcoming and safe environment where every child's unique qualities and abilities are recognized and appreciated.

The Need
In the United States, 6.7% of children under the age of 18 have activity limitations. An accessible playground allows for increased mobility and provides recreational opportunity for children with disabilities to interact with siblings and their peers. This fosters community and understanding for all.

The First Colony Athletic Park is currently the home to the area’s baseball complex. As the existing playground equipment approached the end of its useful life it was clear it needed to be replaced. It is expected that the new, inclusive equipment will make a significant impact on the park and the community.

The First Colony Athletic Park already has a group of athletes who visit the park regularly. These children are part of the Dream League, a division of First Colony Little League. The Dream League roster is approximately 60 players with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. The Dream League and the City of Sugar Land have worked together to make the needed accessibility improvements throughout the baseball complex. This playground project enhanced these improvements to create a destination for all children and families to play together, even outside of baseball season.

Throughout the country, accessible and barrier-free playgrounds are becoming important community projects. The idea behind barrier free is simple: make the playground accessible for all abilities. Modifications are made to play equipment, walking surfaces, and other equipment in the park so everyone can play together and that every child, no matter the ability, can reach the highest play level.

The cost of an accessible playground is well above the standard playground equipment. The proposed playground and surfacing (5,500 sq. ft.) is estimated at $400,000 for construction. . Construction was completed in late summer 2015 and the playground is now open for the community to enjoy.

The Sugar Land Legacy Foundation thanks the generous contributions of the many donors that helped make this project a reality, including:

  • The Jabez Foundation
  • Fort Bend Junior Service League
  • The George Foundation
  • Sugar Land Rotary Club
  • Sugar Land Skeeters Baseball Foundation
  • Paul and Manmeet Likhari
  • Don & Celia Olson
  • Rotary Club of Fort Bend County
  • Minute Maid
  • National Recreation and Park Association
  • LongHorn Steakhouse
  • Macy's First Colony
  • MOMS Club of Sugar Land North
  • Chloe & Tayte Choudhury
  • Tanches Global Management, Inc. - Tanaz & Chesley

Pictured (L-R) during a ribbon cutting ceremony are coaches and players of the Dream League, Sugar Land Councilmember Bridget Yeung, Legacy Foundation Board Members John Null and Brent Leftwich, Sugar Land Mayor James Thompson, Legacy Foundation Board President Sunny Sharma, Legacy Foundation Board Members Dr. Betty Baitland and Gene Reed, Sugar Land City Councilmember Amy Mitchell, Sugar Land City Manager Allen Bogard, Sugar Land Councilmember Steve Porter, coaches from the Dream League, and Assistant City Manager Mike Goodrum.

The new Universally Accessible Playground in Sugar Land's First Colony Park welcomes all people and has been built to allow children with physical and/or intellectual disabilities to foster personal, social and emotional development in a fun, safe, and welcoming environment!