Kuni Foundation Helps Create Inclusive Playground

Photo: Ford, Brad

Fruit Valley Neighborhood Park (3200 Fruit Valley Rd.) will receive a new, inclusive playground thanks to a $1 million donation from the Kuni Foundation. The new playground is set to open in 2025 and will honor the legacy of community leader and mother, Elizabeth Austin.

The six-acre park is in the city’s Fruit Valley neighborhood and serves over 1,000 households in west Vancouver. A popular gathering spot for neighbors, Fruit Valley Park offers a beautiful, natural environment that includes a community garden and enough space to host large events like summer movies in the park. 

The Vancouver-based Kuni Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in Southwest Washington with a dual focus on advancing cancer research and accelerating inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Kuni Foundation donation will help Fruit Valley Park welcome more visitors as the playground is transformed into an inclusive play area for people of all abilities.

“Elizabeth loved exploring Vancouver’s parks and playgrounds, visiting every location in the area,” Kuni Foundation President Angela Hult shared. “As an organization with deep roots in our community we’re excited to partner with the city to honor Elizabeth, who championed inclusive spaces that were accessible to every child. She engaged in this transformative work before our community lost her to cancer in 2021, and The Elizabeth Austin Playground at Fruit Valley Park will be a tribute to her warm, welcoming nature and love for creating community.”

The donation from the Kuni Foundation was formally accepted by Vancouver City Council on March 6. Vancouver Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department is seeking a design partner for the project with expertise in inclusive play. 

“We are honored to be partnering with the Kuni Foundation to reimagine the playground at Fruit Valley Park,” said Park Development Services Manager, Julie Hannon. “This will be a wonderful addition to an already vibrant neighborhood and is an important step in the City’s vision to increase the number of fully accessible playgrounds at parks throughout Vancouver.”

Community outreach to Fruit Valley neighbors is expected to begin this summer and their feedback will help shape the theme and amenities at the playground. The design is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, followed by preparation and permitting with construction starting in 2025. The existing playground will remain in place until construction is ready to begin. 

To learn more about this project and future opportunities to get involved, visit www.BeHeardVancouver.org/Fruit-Valley-Park and subscribe to receive project updates.  

Source: City of Vancouver

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