Eric Margules 2015-07-15 06:31:42
Special Playground Brings Joy to Kids With the help of your community anything is possible. For proof, look no further than Belton, Texas, where the smiling faces of children brighten a new handicapped-accessible playground made possible by the efforts of local Lions, the community of Belton and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). The story of the inclusive playground began in 2012 when city officials and the Belton Lions decided their town needed a place where all children could play, regardless of physical ability. As always, finances presented a challenge, but after raising US$50,000 from the community over two years—along with matching funds from the city of Belton—Lions were awarded a $75,000 Standard grant by LCIF to cover the remaining costs. After years of fundraising and hard work, the playground began to take shape. Over the next several months, Lion planners worked with the Texasbased We Build Fun, Inc. to build the playground and assemble the equipment. In December 2014, the community of Belton came together to celebrate the partnership that made the playground possible. The project cost $180,000. “This is another great day in Belton,” City Manager Sam Listi told the Belton Journal at the opening of the park. “Both the Belton Lions Club and [LCIF] were a major part of this project, and local citizens contributed over $50,000.” The playground, which measures 5,400 square feet, features handicapped-accessible equipment including slides, a merry-go-round, monkey bars and more. Multiple ramps allow wheelchair access to the full park, so special-needs individuals such as parents and guardians can observe the children. Padded turf adds further accessibility by forgoing the gravel and sand found in most playgrounds for a material much friendlier to wheelchairs. “With the help of individual donations from Lions members, the City of Belton and [LCIF], we were able to fund the playground. It was truly a joint community project,” says Robert Jones of the Belton Lions Club. “Wheelchairs can access all areas of the playground because of the artificial padded turf and multiple access ramps. The equipment is for all children, and is used daily by visitors, special field trips by local child care centers and Belton school special needs field trips. It is just an amazing facility.” For information on Standard grants and to find out how your Lions club can apply, visit lcif.org.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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