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Excitement builds for proposed Gwendolyn’s Playground

Gwendolyn's Playground
RRM/Character Rendering
Gwendolyn's Playground

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The group behind Gwendolyn's Playground, Santa Barbara's first and future fully inclusive playground, appeared before Santa Barbara's Architectural Review Board.

The proposed tree house play structure was the focus of Tuesday's hearing. Past hearings brought up the need to revamp the design to make the structure's features more "whimsical" and less "cartoonish."

Redesigned Magical Tree (Courtesy: RRM/Character Rendering)

"The Magical Tree has been designed to encourage multi-generational play and provide access so caregivers can easily provide assistance," said Victoria Strong, CEO and Founder of the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (and Gwendolyn's mother). "We have now successfully raised $6 million dollars from a wide range community support from businesses, schools, non-profits, and everyday citizens --including three year olds! Santa Barbara wants Gwendolyn's Playground as soon as possible."

Proposed updated plans now include more parking. Onsite spaces increased from 128 to 159; the number of perimeter parking spaces bumped up from 68 to 93.

Site Plan (Courtesy: RRM)

More than three times the number of trees will be planted to replace those that will be taken out during construction, from 37 to 125.

The playground project is in honor of Gwendolyn Strong, who captured the hearts of the community while living spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). She died in 2014 at the age of seven.

The goal is to break ground on the eight and a half acre playground in Dwight Murphy Field, this Fall.

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Beth Farnsworth

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