MCKINNEY, TX – DEC 8, 2015 – Rotary Club Presidents Tommy Stanley and Larry Offerdahl (Noon Club and Morning Club, respectively) today joined with McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller to announce the kick-off for the All-Abilities Playground at Bonnie Wenk Park, slated to break ground in 2016.
By definition, an “All Abilities” playground expands the focus of a standard playground to allow children with special needs (Down Syndrome, autism, muscular dystrophy, visual and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other challenges) to experience the “Gift of Play” alongside other children. The specialized and unique equipment addresses the needs of children who have development delays, special sensory requirements, as with autism and other cognitive challenges.
The two Rotary Clubs of McKinney have partnered with the City of McKinney to complete the project. City Council approved the joint project in regular session on September 29, 2015. The City will provide the site for the playground in Bonnie Wenk Park, (Phase II, located near the corner of Virginia Parkway and Hardin Blvd), and will enhance the infrastructure around the playground with a customized restroom adjacent to the playground, ramps and additional parking for vans and buses. Additionally, going forward, the city will maintain the playground.
“I am excited about the opportunity to provide a place for children and adults with special needs to enjoy outdoor activities in a park setting,” said McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller. “The partnership with Rotary to bring this All-Abilities playground to fruition is an example of how public/private initiatives can create a lasting impact on our community that otherwise might not be met. We have a perfect opportunity to let each child regardless of abilities and his or her family know we care!”
In MISD, over 10% (2,517) of the students enrolled make up the “special population”. This number does not include children who are homeschooled, attend private schools, or are preschool age. Children and adults in wheelchairs, walkers and braces will be able to share a play experience on a special rubberized foundation with specialized play equipment.
Although the design is not completed, the planned playground will include extra shaded areas, benches near all the play areas for parental supervision, wheelchair ramps to equipment and picnic tables for birthday parties and other events.
“Sponsorships and support from businesses, large and small, are the key to the success of this project,” said Juli Smith, Playground co-chair. “This will be a local McKinney and Collin County ‘destination’ playground for all families.”
The Rotary Clubs of McKinney have joined together to raise $560,000 from community and business sponsorships to pay for the costs of the project’s specialized equipment, landscaping within the playground and amenities.The projected groundbreaking is spring 2016.
Fundraising goals are: $150,000 by the end of December 2015; the second goal is an additional $250,000 by April 2016 and the final is $160,000 by July 2016. Individuals, businesses, students, churches, and service groups are encouraged to donate or sponsor. Permanent recognition will be given to sponsors for larger donations in the playground.
Donations are 100% tax deductible through the McKinney Rotary Foundation’s 501(c)(3).
To donate by check, make payable to McKinney Rotary Foundation, note “All Abilities Playground” in the memo section, and mail to the address below.
PO BOX 552
Online donations can also me made through the website at www.RotaryPlayground.com.
Rotary Club of McKinney Press Release