Top marks for play area

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A wheelchair-friendly roundabout is one of the stars of this playground, which was developed mainly for children with disabilities.
A wheelchair-friendly roundabout is one of the stars of this playground, which was developed mainly for children with disabilities.

Playground experts gave the new Frimley Playground a 10 out of 10 rating ahead of its opening.

The experts may be a bit older than the people usually seen climbing and swinging at playgrounds, but they have the credentials.

Members of the New Zealand Recreation Association (Midlands Region Committee) were in town for a couple of weeks to take a look at facilities across Hastings and Napier.

The organisation "champions high-quality recreation ... that meets the needs of current and future participants, so that through recreation New Zealanders are active, healthy and connected".

Playground and park managers, and planners from as far away as New Plymouth, were bussed around a number of recreation facilities and sights during their day in the Bay, including the brand-new Frimley Park playground.

The playground has been built by Hastings District Council with children with disabilities top of mind.

All the usual park elements are still there - swings, slides and rope climbs - but there are also bright colours defining different areas, designed to help those with poor vision or with learning disabilities, things like Congo drums and talk tubes, a wheelchair-friendly roundabout, artificial turf across the play area suitable for all types of mobility, and a circular path for scootering.

The playground will be opened on June 19 at 10am, with a family celebration including a sausage sizzle, face-painting and a bouncy castle, and access to the new play equipment.

Also in the planning - but unlikely to be ready by the opening - is a petanque terrain donated by Russell Roads. It will be the first public petanque court in Hastings. People wanting to use it will need to take along their petanque boules.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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