Every child deserves the chance to play, no matter what their limitations might be.
That philosophy is driving efforts to build a fully accessible playground in Bracebridge, and the end goal is now in sight.
“There are so many families in south Muskoka who would love to be able to go out and enjoy a public playground like all other children, but they can’t always do that,” says Amanda Brown, executive assistant with Community Living South Muskoka (CLSM). “People with developmental disabilities are close to our heart – that’s what we do – and there was a lack of anything like this in the area for those families. This is something we could do that would be not just for the people we serve but for the entire community.”
The group has now fundraised $85,000 of the $90,000 needed to undertake Phase I of the project, and they’re hoping to hit their final target this Saturday. Starting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27, CLSM will host a Leap Year Party at LIV Muskoka on Manitoba Street.
Bottle Throttle, 40 Grit and Blue Moon will be performing, and there will be games like crown and anchor, blackjack and a toonie toss to help raise funds.
“It’s something to do at a time of year when things are pretty quiet,” says Brown. “We have a connection with LIV Muskoka and we thought it would be a great way to raise those final few funds to put us over the top and complete phase one.”
Admission is by donation, and all of the proceeds will go to the playground and CLSM’s summer Youth Works program.
“Youth Works is a day camp program for teens with developmental disabilities – it gives them a chance to do things they might not be able to do otherwise,” says Brown. “For instance, last year they did some paddle boarding, fishing and other outdoor activities.” This will be the fourth year operating the program, if they can raise the necessary funds. Youth Works is entirely funded by donations.
Work on the playground, which is located at Morrison Meadows on Fraserburg Road, is already underway. When finished, it will be open to all members of the public. Among other things it will have swings, slides and tubes to climb through.
“It’s set up so children in wheelchairs, or whatever their mobility level, will be able to use it,” says Brown. “Often you have children with autism whose parents need to keep a constant eye on them when they’re at the park because they can be a flight risk. This playground is fully fenced in and that’s one less worry for parents when the kids are out playing.”
If all goes according to plan, CLSM hopes to finish Phase 1 of the project in the spring.
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