The city of Sterling Heights appears to be–literally–walking the talk with its latest community engagement instillation. The public unveiling of a StoryWalk® this week upheld the city’s 2030 visioning commitment to inclusive projects, with a braille component providing access for visually-impaired residents and visitors.
City officials gathered to officially open the Beaver Creek StoryWalk® on Tuesday and Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor says it’s a way to promote both reading and getting active in the city’s parks.
“Installations like this StoryWalk® are an important part of our work to keep Sterling Heights an active and inclusive community,” says Taylor.
For residents who are visually impaired the new instillation means a lot, says Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) behavioral health manager Susan Kattula. She sees first-hand how including braille in the community helps students who participate in a Breaking Barriers program at the CCF, and she will be bringing her class to experience the walk today.
"It's wonderful," Katulla says. "Braille is so essential in their lives."
The books used in the permanent StoryWalk® display will be changed several times a year and feature a variety of classic and new picture books as well as both fiction and non-fiction works. The first book featured in the 20-post, aluminum frame display is “The Way Back Home” by Oliver Jeffers.
Library Director Tammy Turgeon proudly shows off one of the story boards.
“This project was truly a team effort involving not only the library, but also our fantastic parks and recreation department,” says Library Director Tammy Turgeon. “Outdoor environments naturally inspire children to be more physically active, and outdoor learning provides children with hands-on experiences in nature–the perfect place for children to learn by using their senses.”
The inclusive approach to the StoryWalk® follows other community installments designed to meet the needs of residents with disabilities, including the construction of a universally accessible kayak launch
, known as an EZI dock, which enables easier access to Clinton River docks.