Mahoney Inclusive Playground


The Strategy for Integrating Outdoor Inclusive Play(PDF, 326KB) in Lincoln’s Parks recommends a three tier strategy which includes a recommendation for a new large inclusive playground at Mahoney Park. Parks and Recreation leveraged that plan to make application to the Land and Water Conservation Fund for a $400,000 grant, matched by $300,000 in City funding and $100,000 in private donations, was awarded to develop this first fully inclusive playground in the community.

Inclusive playgrounds are thoughtfully designed to provide a safe place where people of all abilities, sizes and ages can play together. They go beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act which requires access but not necessarily play experiences that meet the needs or abilities of the users. Inclusive playgrounds provide a number of opportunities for children to explore and to be able to play side by side with children and adults who may have different levels of ability.

The Mahoney Inclusive Playground will be located in the same general area as the existing playground, but will be roughly 5 times the size. This playground will include a perimeter fence, swing and sway opportunities, multilevel accessible-surface play areas, a large fully-accessible central play structure, adult fitness equipment, turf and covered picnic areas, and a water play area. A nearby restroom has been remodeled to accommodate families, including adult changing tables. Basketball, sand volleyball, tennis and a rentable picnic shelter are located in the immediate area. There are concrete walking paths and plenty of parking located near the playground. Construction of this playground is planned to begin in spring of 2024 and be completed by the end of 2024.

Site Plan Layout - February 2024




National Demonstration Site


City of Lincoln is recognized for its commitment to providing a high- outdoor park destination that exemplifies evidence-based best practices in design, offers meaningful experiences, and thoughtfully supports health and wellness in their community. Mahoney Park serves as a model project of excellence in the following National Demonstration Site designation.

Mahoney Park applies a comprehensive design philosophy by utilizing the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design™ to innovate an outdoor play environment where both physical and social inclusion can occur to the greatest extent possible. Moving beyond minimum accessibility guidelines, this park intentionally addresses the development of the whole child, aligns with evidence-based design principles of the whole environment, and ultimately, benefits the whole community by providing a meaningful destination for individuals of all ages and abilities to play together. A robust and balanced assortment of playground activities can be found to support the physical, social-emotional, sensory, cognitive, and communicative needs of all children, including those with disabilities.

Mahoney Park promotes physical activity and fun by implementing the Play On! design best practices to intentionally promote physical activity through active play and encourage the developmental progression of skills through healthy movement. This outdoor play destination incorporates six key elements of play- balancing, brachiating, climbing, spinning, sliding, and swinging to promote fitness opportunities that support national physical education standards and efforts to combat childhood obesity.

Mahoney Park thoughtfully aligns with evidence-based design best practices to promote physical activity and fitness. This Outdoor Adult Fitness Park offers a variety of aerobic, muscle/strength, core, balance, and flexibility equipment to provide a well-rounded fitness routine. Together, these elements can help individuals of all fitness levels engage in more moderate to vigorous physical activity, while enjoying the health benefits of physical activity.

We commend City of Lincoln for turning research into practice and offering evidence-based solutions that build healthier, happier communities through the power of play and recreation.