Variety to Break Ground on Cedar Rapids All-Inclusive Playground
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Monday, April 24, 2017
Variety – the Children’s Charity has completed a $475,000 campaign and is scheduled to break ground on the 9,600 square foot, all-inclusive Variety Star Playground in Noelridge Park on May 15.
The Variety Star Playground will be the first all-inclusive playground in Cedar Rapids. It will be ramped for accessibility, have a poured in place rubber surface and will provide opportunities for children and adults of all abilities to interact together through play. The playground includes shade canopies, play structures to promote core strength, harnessed swings and a saucer swing that allows children to lay flat to experience sensation of swinging.
“Variety believes that playgrounds should be for everybody, regardless of physical limitations and challenges,” said Sheri McMichael, Executive Director of Variety, “We are excited to break ground on the Variety Star Playground and gift it to the city of Cedar Rapids and its residents.”
Variety has selected Cunningham Recreation, a company that specializes in all-inclusive playgrounds nationwide, to build the playground. Upon completion, the playground will be gifted to the city of Cedar Rapids. The city’s parks and recreation department will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep.
“The new Variety Star Playground will be a great addition to the parks and recreation system in Cedar Rapids,” said Sven Leff, Director of Parks & Recreation. “This playground will be the first of its kind in the city for people of all abilities to play together, and it will attract people from nearby communities to discover more of Cedar Rapids. We are very grateful to Variety – the Children’s Charity for their generosity and for all the work to make this gift to the people of Cedar Rapids possible.”
The Importance of All-Inclusive Play
According to 2010 Census data, just over five percent of school aged children in the United States have a disability. The Playground will allow everyone to play as independently as possible while providing a safe environment that allows children of all abilities to develop their skills through fun and challenging play opportunities.
Play is fundamental to a child’s development, and children with disabilities deserve the opportunity to be socially accepted and included in play with their peers. The Playground aims to encourage interaction, break down barriers and foster friendships.
Thank you to all who contributed to the Star Playground including our lead donors Hall-Perrine Foundation, Transamerica Foundation, Wellmark Foundation and the Diamond V Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.
The Variety Star Playground is the second all-inclusive playground built by Variety. Variety’s first playground, the Ashley Okland Star Playground, is located in Des Moines’ Ewing Park and sees thousands of visitors each year.
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