FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--DIDD Awards Inclusive Playground Grants to Seven Organizations and Communities

Thursday, August 31, 2023 | 10:05am

Thursday, August 31, 2023

CONTACT: Carly Carlton
OFFICE: 615-571-4608


DIDD Awards Inclusive Playground Grants to Seven Organizations and Communities

Up to $500,000 for local communities and nonprofit organizations to create inclusive parks and playgrounds for people with and without disabilities

NASHVILLE—The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) announced it will award $2.5 million in inclusive playground and facility grant funding to seven organizations and communities across the state.

The purpose of the grant funding is to create more inclusive parks and playgrounds in communities across Tennessee. This will provide opportunities for children and adults with intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities to experience the physical, social, and emotional benefits of play alongside their peers without disabilities.

“Inclusive playgrounds not only provide access to children who often can’t enjoy traditional play spaces because of design barriers, but they can also help foster friendships among children with and without disabilities,” said DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner. “This is a win-win for our communities and all of our children, and I’m excited to see the impact these new spaces will have in both rural and urban areas of Tennessee.”

DIDD received funding to provide up to $500,000 to local communities or nonprofit organizations to create these inclusive parks, playgrounds, or other facilities. Some of the grants awarded will supplement existing fundraising efforts to build playgrounds in these communities.

The awards are as follows:

  • Hope Included (Chattanooga): $500,000 to transform the Riverview Park playground and facilities into an inclusive hub for the community, in partnership with the City of Chattanooga and Play & Park Structures Inc., a PlayCore Company. This project aims to transform the current space into an inclusive park that is an open and safe space carefully designed to promote play among children of differing abilities, ages, and communities. 
  • City of Germantown: $489,425.80 to rebuild the Germantown Municipal Park and Playground and expand its ADA accessibility offerings through an inclusively designed playground equipped with wheelchair-accessible pathways.  
  • City of Madisonville: $465,448 to develop an inclusive play area located within steps of an existing play area at Kefauver Park. The park is already ADA compliant, but in collaboration with Monroe County, the City of Madisonville plans to add more handicapped parking spaces to the parking lots and new inclusive play equipment.  
  • Carroll County Inclusion Park: $497,250 to develop land gifted by the town of Huntingdon to create the Carroll County Inclusion Park. The primary goal for the design of this playground is to provide a safe and accessible playground that inspires peer-to-peer inclusive play, which will include ADA-compliant bathroom facilities.  
  • Cumberland County: $102,700.50 to replace forty-year-old dilapidated equipment at Obed River Park in Crossville. The grant will provide the funding to order new ADA-accessible equipment such as new swings, a merry-go-round, and playground equipment such as ground-level play spaces and sensory-rich components.  
  • Oneida Special School District: $425,284.16 awarded for the district to provide children and adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities a safe place that will promote parallel play and activities.  
  • Friends of Franklin Park: $19,881.54 for the not-for-profit organization to create the city of Franklin's first inclusive park. The park will use a design approach that takes into account not only accessibility and mobility, but also potential sensory, cognitive, and emotional barriers.  

DIDD received a total of 86 applications from communities and nonprofit organizations for the Inclusive Playgrounds Grant. The seven organizations and communities will be awarded the funding in the coming weeks. Details of in-person check presentations are forthcoming.  

DIDD continues to award related grants to promote inclusion and access across the state of Tennessee.  Grants for businesses and communities to buy and install adult-sized changing tables are still available.  Learn more about these grants here:




About the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) is the state agency responsible for oversight of services and support to Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Every day, the department strives to support approximately 12,000 people to live rewarding and fulfilling lives through Medicaid waiver Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), state operated ICF/IIDs, and the Family Support Program. DIDD also provides services to children ages birth up to age three with disabilities or developmental delays through the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS), and children under the age of 18 with disabilities or complex medical needs through the Katie Beckett Program. The department supports all Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities live the lives they envision for themselves by ensuring people are free to exercise rights, engage with their broader communities and experience optimal health. DIDD is the first state service delivery system in the nation to receive Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership.  It has also been recognized as a national leader in its efforts to increase competitive, community-based employment outcomes for people with disabilities and its commitment to enhancing independence through Enabling Technology.