EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso County is getting some national recognition for its initiative to build all-abilities playgrounds.

El Paso County officials will be honored by the International City/County Management Association as recipients of the organization’s 2023 Community Equity and Inclusion Award.

“ICMA’s Community Equity and Inclusion Awards recognize communities for organizational achievements building or celebrating diversity and inclusiveness,” according to a news release announcing the award.

As the recipient of ICMA’s Community Equity and Inclusion Award, El Paso County All-Abilities
Playgrounds Program will be honored in various platforms including ICMA’s Annual Conference,
Sept 30 to Oct. 4.

A plan to build all-abilities playgrounds was established in 2018 by El Paso County leaders in
partnership with Moms on Board, a non-profit organization. The first of three all-abilities
playgrounds opened to the public at Gallegos Park in Canutillo on Nov. 30, 2022. The other
two playgrounds are expected to be completed by fall 2023 — one at Ascarate Park and the other at Risinger Park in Fabens.

“The construction of all-abilities play areas in the county encourages inclusion and understanding amongst all members of the community, regardless of their physical or mental abilities,” said Betsy C. Keller, chief administrator for the County. “This recognition is an added achievement to the crowning achievement of inclusivity for our community.”

The ICMA Local Government Excellence Awards Program “highlights creative contributions to
professional local government management while demonstrating the difference that effective and committed management makes to the quality of life in our communities,” the news release stated.

“El Paso County continually strives to be inclusive and engaging with the community,” said
Commissioner David Stout, Precinct 2. “We were excited to partner with Moms on Board on these projects and are working on other ways of making the County more inclusive for people with disabilities, such as working with advocates to create an advisory board and ensuring that our social media and websites are accessible.”