TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator James Beach and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez that will incentivize counties to build completely inclusive playgrounds for children and adults with disabilities was signed into law today by Governor Phil Murphy.
“Jake’s Law fulfills a dream of providing all of New Jersey’s children with boundless play,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “Inclusive playgrounds like Jake’s Place are joyful places where children of all backgrounds, ages and physical abilities play together without limitations. These playgrounds need to be in every county of our wonderful state – and now they will.”
“Jake’s Law” will prioritize access to Green Acres funding for the construction of completely inclusive playgrounds by counties in hopes that each county owns and operates at least one inclusive playground.
The law will require the Department of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Department of Education, to create rules and regulations for the design, installation, inspection and maintenance of the inclusive playgrounds. The rules and regulations will be required to exceed standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It will require that park and playground areas are to be visitor friendly to all, regardless of their medical condition, in order to engage in the park and playground experience.
“Barriers were broken today,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “The signing of Jake’s Law has set the wheels in motion for these inclusive playgrounds to be constructed throughout the state, providing enjoyment and inspiration to all.”
The term “Jake’s Law” refers to Jake’s Place, a $600,000 inclusive, or “boundless” playground in Cherry Hill, created in honor of Jacob Cummings-Nasto. Jake was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and did physical therapy at parks. He passed away at the age of two and a half due to heart surgery complications.
The law takes effect immediately.