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Inclusive Playground launches crowdfunding campaign

by MACKENZI KLEMANN - mklemann@wabashplaindealer.com

The All Inclusive Playground committee has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the final $100,000 needed to begin construction, which organizers hope to start in late March.

The campaign, live on patronicity.com, will need to raise $50,000 by March 29 in order to receive a $50,000 grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

Donations will only be collected if the campaign successfully raises $50,000 by the deadline. The campaign was well on its way to meeting that goal with more than $2,400 raised by 2 p.m. on Thursday, the first day the campaign went live.

The playground committee has raised more than 90 percent of its $1.7 million goal, with about $100,000 needed to start construction.

Late last year, the committee hired Hagerman Group for $977,000 to construct the playground. Committee co-chair Shelly Myers estimated in December that playground equipment would cost about $400,000, plus installation fees. Extra funds will be used to purchase additional playground equipment or to cover maintenance costs, according to the committee’s Patronicity campaign.

If the campaign is successful, organizers hope to start construction shortly thereafter in late March and to open the playground sometime in August.

The playground will be built on a low hillside near the John Drook Memorial Skate Park and Wabash County YMCA.

The inclusive aspect of the program makes it unique, as the playground is designed so that children with physical and intellectual disabilities can play with their able-bodied peers. For example, renderings call for a hillslide that is built on an incline so that no steps or ladders are included. The playground also calls for rubber mulch.