As we have reported before, four Arden Arcade recreation and park districts joined together to seek state park bond funds for the community's first inclusive playground. The project, EmPOWERment Park, came to be under the guidance of the Sacramento Parks Foundation with community support from local residents and service clubs and was made possible by SMUD's land tenure contribution. It was funded for $6.28M, a bare-bones level for this kind of facility. Had the Parks Foundation asked for the actual amount needed, the request would most likely have been denied. As the post-Covid economy starts to emerge, there is now a window of opportunity to raise funds for the project to become more than a minimal facility and transform into a significant community amenity with economic potential - for attracting visitors from out of the area and for stimulating real estate transactions. Our own Sarah Medal* is now serving as the community representative for the Parks Foundation group that is shepherding the project.
Yesterday ABC10 reported on progress being made with the project and focused on Sarah and her daughter, MJ, who is nonverbal, and needs a wheelchair. MJ has been shut out of local parks. The parks here were never designed for people like her. And it turns out that there are kids all across our community who can't use local parks due to having the same or similar circumstances. What's so great about EmPOWERment Park is that its design is intended to accommodate ALL park users, whether able-bodied or not. That means it will be a blessing for their parents, who will finally have a local place for active recreation with and for their children.
The ABC10 report did a great job explaining the project and, it is hoped, will be a catalyst for donations the park needs to move beyond minimum functionality, estimated at between $500K to $1M. The ABC10 video and transcript are at: https://www.abc10.com/article/news/local/sacramento/sacramento-playground-for-all/103-8b255941-e740-46f8-86bd-6b4c9195d550. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the project, there is a donation button on the Parks Foundation's web site. For more information, contact Mike Grace, the Parks Foundation's Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(*Sarah has been our Social Media Specialist since day 1. She is our newsroom's Elf-Herder-in-Chief)