New handicap-accessible playground and trail to be constructed in Laurel Park June 2

(From left) Sandra Terry, president of the Laurel Civic Association; Carolyn Brown, general manager of Sarasota County Parks and Recreation; Mary Stagg, the parks department's playground inspector; County Commissioner Nora Patterson; and Dr. Adam Bright celebrate the upcoming 'Build a Playground Day.' Photo by Norman Schimmel

Thanks to collaboration among the Florida Orthopaedic Society, the Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department, the Laurel Civic Association and a number of other groups, a new wheelchair-accessible playground will be completed June 2 in Laurel Park at 509 Collins Road in Laurel.

Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson read a proclamation during the commission’s May 22 regular meeting to mark the upcoming “Build a Playground Day at Laurel Park.”

The new playground and a multi-generational play trail will be constructed by a team consisting of more than 150 “community leaders, volunteers and dignitaries,” according to a news release from Generation Play, a project created in 2011 “to improve the health of our community by promoting multi-generational exercise and accessible playgrounds.”

Generation Play comprises the Florida Orthopaedic Society, the Laurel Civic Association, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and a number of other groups and orthopaedic practices.

The Laurel Park project has been spearheaded by Dr. Adam Bright, a Sarasota orthopaedic surgeon and president of the Florida Orthopaedic Society.

Members of that society are meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota from May 31 through June 3.

Bright said that rising obesity rates in children and adults had spurred his interest in the project.

“Never underestimate what one person can accomplish when they have a vision and a dream,” Carolyn N. Brown, general manager of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department, said of Bright during the May 22 presentation.

He had approached county staff about a year ago with the proposal, she added. “We are most grateful.”

Patterson said Laurel Park was the perfect setting for the new playground, thanks to its proximity to the Legacy Trail and its “lush canopy tree system.”

Sandra Terry, president of the Laurel Civic Association, told the commission audience, “Collaboration in this county is far beyond any place you will ever live.”

Speaking of the park itself, she added, “It’s going to be wonderful.”

The construction work is expected to take place from 8 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, followed by a short ceremony to recognize the participants in the project.

For more information, visit