Striving to make Easter Lake Park’s north shore the most accessible park in America.

Just three years ago it was merely a vision. Today the Athene North Shore Recreation Area is fully funded with construction crews poised to dig in. This development project at Easter Lake Park will be a unique amenity in Polk County because it was conceived and developed with the singular goal of creating the most universally designed, accessible park in the country.

This project goes far beyond accessible playground equipment – though it has that too. Key features include zero-entry ramps to allow people with limited mobility access to the water, a full inventory of adaptive recreation equipment, extra wide sidewalks to usher wheelchair users and their family across the shorefront, and a de-escalation room for people with sensory input disorder, to name a few. The design team is even modifying traditional signage conventions to promote more accessible navigation.

“We are laser focused on drawing all people to enjoy nature and recreate outdoors,” said Kami Rankin, Deputy Director of Polk County Conservation. “When people feel safe and secure they are more likely to do just that - explore. With this project we are creating a safer, more welcoming space for people of all abilities.”

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