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Rainforest Play Park reaches fundraising goal

by MACKENZI KLEMANN - mklemann@wabashplaindealer.com

Local families in search of a place to play this winter may be in luck. The Wabash County YMCA’s crowdfunding campaign recently reached its $50,000 goal, qualifying the playground for a $50,000 state matching grant.

The funds will be used to transform an unused room at the local Y into an indoor rainforest-themed play space slated to open in late February 2018.

The idea came from YMCA CEO Clint Kugler and Jordan Tandy, the Y’s chief volunteer officer, who together started brainstorming new uses for the local Y’s recreation room, an underutilized space located on the main floor.

Soon after, a playground committee was formed. The committee applied for state funding and started a crowdfunding campaign for local donations. The indoor playground concept was so popular that the campaign was able to raise $53,286 in just two months, according to figures provided by Tandy.

That means the Rainforest Play Park will receive the $50,000 matching grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Association, which set a Dec. 15 deadline for applicants to meet their local match requirement.

“We were very excited to meet our fundraising goal,” Tandy said. “Our committee members put a lot of time and energy into planning and raising funds for the project, and it’s nice to see the plans come to fruition. The Rainforest Play Park will give Wabash families another option for fun and recreation, especially during the winter months.”

A two-story play structure will occupy the back one-third of the rec room, with a rock climbing wall in the back. The wall will be an estimated 15 to 20 feet wide and 8 to 10 feet high, as described by Tandy in November.

And in the center of the room will be an interactive pond that will ripple and send fish swimming through when children touch the image. The pond will be formed by a ceiling projection that senses when children touch it, Tandy said.

Tandy expects the project to be complete and open to the public by Saturday, Feb. 24.