The fundraising campaign for the Harmony Playground has exceeded its halfway point. Project organizers are hoping to raise $700,000 to build the fully inclusive playground, which will be maintained by the Effingham Park District after its construction. The playground will be located just behind the Workman Sports Complex.
“We set a bold goal of $700,000 to build the playground along with the pavilion with handicap accessible restrooms, [and] adult style changing tables,” said project organizer Aaron Myers. “I’m proud to say, as of today, we’re close to the $400,000 mark from what we’ve raised or gained commitments in.”
You can listen to our full interview with Jami and Aaron here!
Meyers said that the goal is to break ground by spring, but there’s still a long way to go with fundraising. “No donation is too small,” Myers continued. “Every dollar counts in this regard and the more we raise, the more we can put into the playground.” The project all started when a local mom, Emily Drake, approached the park district to ask for an accessible swing for her daughter Lily and other kids with special needs. The idea turned into an effort to build a whole playground that all kids can enjoy.
Jami Ludwig, another organizer, said that demand for inclusive playgrounds is on the rise. “There’s about a hundred right now and they’re becoming more popular,” Ludwig stated. “People are seeing the need for it ,”she continued. “So that kids without disabilities can learn about kids with disabilities and vice versa.”
All kids and adults will be welcomed at Harmony Playground. The equipment is friendly for kids with physical disabilities and will encourage the development of social-skills as well. With the playground’s proximity to the sports complex, Meyers said that St. Anthony’s Hospital Occupational Therapy program will also be able to make use of it to help their patients play.
Donations can be made through the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation here!