Northside ARCpark Celebrates One Year of All-Inclusive Play

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    The first all-inclusive recreation area in central Virginia, ARCpark, turns one one this month.

    Created by the Greater Richmond ARC, the 2.4-acre play area, adjoining ARC’s headquarters at 3600 Saunders Avenue, is estimated to host 1,000 visitors each week during good weather since opening on August 29, 2015.

    Visitors to ARCpark during its recent SummerFest that celebrated the 2.4 acre recreational area's first year.
    Visitors to ARCpark during its recent SummerFest that celebrated the 2.4 acre recreational area’s first year.

    “If you build it, they will come has certainly held true,” said ARC vice president of development and communications Kim Watson. “We’ve seen visitors from up and down the East Coast, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Some have been from as far away as Florida.”

    The all-ages, all-abilities park includes a tree house of repurposed eucalyptus wood with extra-wide ramps to accommodate wheelchairs; Biggo Duo disc swings that are oversized and easy in which to sit; a custom-built sensory wall of particular benefit for individuals for sensory processing disorders; and a fitness course with multiple height exercise bars and exercise bikes that include one that can be hand cranked by individuals using wheelchairs.

    Since opening, ARCpark has hosted dozens of school groups and over a hundred private parties, mostly birthday celebrations. It is reserved into October for a variety of events.

    ARCpark has also received numerous architectural and real estate

    Estimated to host about a thousand visitors each week during good weather, ARCpark opened August 29, 2015.
    Estimated to host about a thousand visitors each week during good weather, ARCpark opened August 29, 2015.

    awards, including one from the 2016 Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects recently, as well as the Most Creative Award for an institution at the fifteenth annual Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate Awards in April.

    The park has also received positive feedback from the Greater Richmond ARC families who helped create it. Results from an informal survey showed families who provided initial feedback about ARCpark now enjoy coming to the park. Respondents said ARCpark offers activities that are accessible to their family members; most reported improvements in their loved one’s health and wellness.

    “ARCpark has proven to be of great benefit to the families we serve, as well as to the community in general,” said Watson.

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    About the Greater Richmond ARC The Greater Richmond ARC provides a variety of innovative services and programs designed to meet the needs of clients and their families. Services span the lifecycle and assist people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to live happy, successful and meaningful lives. Core areas of service include: Infant & Child Development Services; After School & Day Support Services; ARC Employment Services and Camp Baker Services, a full service respite and camp facility