Chanticleer Park’s New Inclusive Playground Named In Honor of Siblings’ Story
On October 19, 2015, the Santa Cruz County Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously voted to approve the name of “Leo’s Haven” for the Chanticleer Park inclusive playground in the Live Oak community of Santa Cruz, CA.
For nearly a year, members of the Santa Cruz Playground Project have been on a quest to find a simple, beautiful, and meaningful name for the playground. Input was sought from community members and other stakeholders in the project. After much discussion the decision was made to bring the name, Leo’s Haven, to the commission.
The story behind the playground’s new name starts with three siblings. Leo stands for Lauren, Evelyn, and Oliver Potts. These twin sisters and their little brother are the inspiration behind this playground. Oliver uses a wheelchair for mobility and the kids found it frustrating to play on most playgrounds because even ADA compliant designs prevented them from really playing together. This caused their parents, Bob and Tricia, to advocate for an inclusively designed playground to be built within Santa Cruz County.
The second part of the name, Haven, has several levels of meaning. It first describes the Live Oak community and their deep support of an inclusive design for the playground feature at Chanticleer Park. This community responded whole-heartedly to a serious need within the greater Santa Cruz County community, even when it meant reevaluating their long-held plans for Chanticleer Park. Their vision means children will have a safe and welcoming haven for play in an area that desperately needs it.
On another level, this haven of play, while planned for all children, is particularly envisioned for special needs children and their families. Day to day special needs life demands an intense and even unfair level of strength from these children. This playground will be a place where children can come to forget about doctor appointments, hospital visits, therapy sessions, and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) and just play with their friends and families.
It will be a place where moms and dads who have just started on the special needs journey can come and realize they are not alone, their community has thought of them and has planned a place of acceptance and support. It will be a place where grandparents with mobility issues can bring their grandchildren. It will be a place where a mom in a wheelchair or a dad who isn’t can play tag with a son or daughter. Leo’s Haven will be all this and more.
— Santa Cruz Playground Project Blog