Could Newport Beach see a playground for the elderly?


When I was a very young and wide-eyed cub reporter in Kansas City, I came to know a KC parks commissioner whose passion was playgrounds that were accessible for disabled kids. This was in the early 1990s, and I had never thought about such a thing, but I was intrigued at the idea of spinning merry-go-rounds that kids in wheelchairs could roll up onto, or swings for bigger kids, or sandboxes that were raised high enough for all kids to reach.

I’ve had friends who have told me they appreciated that Newport Beach offers beach-accessible wheelchairs, and I’ve chatted with Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill about the idea of having city playgrounds with options for everyone. So when City Councilmember Joy Brenner recently posted on social media about a playground for seniors, it caught my attention.

Could Newport Beach see swing

Courtesy of the City of Newport Beach

A special needs swing at Coastal Peak Park

“Oh, I think OASIS needs this, perhaps just off their parking lot at Marguerite and Fifth (avenues),” Brenner wrote on Halloween. Several people responded positively, including Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley.

Brenner linked to an article that had photos of seniors on low-impact playground equipment and described all the options, including fitness steps and ramps, cobweb floors, zig-zag pipes, throttle bars and stretching boards. Besides fitness, the article said, the senior playgrounds decrease loneliness and have been built for decades in Asia and Europe.

I spoke to Brenner about this idea, and while she said the city has too many near-term expenses to make it a priority, she would love to have staff research it further at some point.

“It’s worth investigating,” Brenner said. “It’s an idea I’d like to look at. I’d like to know more about it. It would be a way for seniors to just have fun, to socialize.”

Laura Detweiler, the city’s recreation and senior services director, said the city already has outdoor equipment at Marina Park that is mutigenerational and is similar to what Brenner suggested, but not an entire playground.

Could Newport Beach see Marina Park

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Courtesy of the City of Newport Beach

Multigenerational, low-impact equipment at Marina Park

Additionally, the city offers four beach wheelchairs, two each at the Newport Pier and at Big Corona, available first-come, first-served, for free in two-hour increments. And city playgrounds all have a variety of ADA components and surfacing, including the special needs swing at Coastal Peak Park.

 “We are currently evaluating other parks to add more,” Detweiler said.

It is wonderful the city keeps adding options for special-needs kids and seniors, and I agree with Councilmember Brenner that a playground for seniors near OASIS would be wonderful. I hope it happens one day.

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Meanwhile, Seaside Gallery & Goods collective will celebrate five years in business at a public, free event to be held from 10 a.m.-5 pm. on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 124 Tustin Ave. The event will include holiday makeup tutorials and staged holiday table displays and floral designs, organizers said. Seaside Gallery & Goods features locally made and curated items from about 20 artists and small businesses, all based in Orange County. In addition, in-store offerings include home décor, and gifts for men, women and infants.

Could Newport Beach see Seaside

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Courtesy of Seaside Gallery & Goods

Seaside Gallery & Goods

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Also, mark your calendar for the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce’s holiday networking event that takes place again at The Bungalow in the downstairs fireside patio from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19. The event is free for members and $20 for guests and includes music, appetizers and a free glass of wine. The Bungalow is located at 2441 E. Coast Highway. Also, the chamber’s annual holiday luncheon will take place at Five Crowns Restaurant from 11:15 am.-1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17. The cost is $40 for members and $45 for non-members. Call 949.673.4050 to RSVP.


Amy Senk has lived in Corona del Mar for 20 years and was publisher of Corona del Mar Today, an online newspaper that ran daily for seven years. Senk, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, is involved in the Corona del Mar Residents Association and the Corona del Mar High School PTA. She and her husband have two children.