Arvada, CO . . . Joe Fiorini, an employee with the Wheat Ridge Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled, saw a pressing need for his clients. One of the homes operated by the Center is located near Independence Park, but the residents, many of whom are non-ambulatory, could only sit on their front porch and look north to the grass and trees of the Park. There were no accessible walkways that made it possible for the residents to enjoy the amenities of Independence Park.
When Mr. Fiorini and one of his clients approached the Arvada Park Advisory Committee for help, their prayers were answered, and then some! The Committee voted unanimously to support a project to address the clients’ needs.
During the summer and fall of 2007, a concrete path measuring one-third of a mile was installed, creating a continuous loop around Independence Park that will allow access for nearby residents. Along with the path, many new types of flowers, shrubs, and trees have been planted in order to bring new sights and fragrances to the Park. In addition, “sensory” stations are planned around new accessible park benches and a picnic table—the areas will be surrounded by fragrant plants to stimulate the sense of smell, and to further enhance the park experience. “In addition to the disabled community, these improvements will benefit the elderly as well as young children in strollers or on bikes,” stated Mike Lee, Manager of Park and Urban Design.
Mr. Fiorini said, “The clients will now be able to venture further out than the porch and enjoy the park that they previously could only look at.”
The improvements to Independence Park are mostly complete and were funded through the City’s Capital Improvement Program.
The 7-acre Independence Park is located at W. 67th Avenue and Oberon Road in Arvada.
The Wheat Ridge Regional Center houses many developmentally disabled clients in 25 homes throughout the Denver Metropolitan area.