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Breslau groups shifts into fundraising mode for accessible playground

Inspired by the state-of-the-art Kate’s Kause playground in Elmira’s Gibson Park, a group of parents have begun a fundraising campaign to upgrade the park in Breslau’s Hopewell Heights neighbourhood.

Now a subcommittee of  the Breslau Recreation Association, the Hopewell Heights group got approval from Woolwich council to move ahead with plans to renovate the existing playground off of Fountain Street, with the goal of making the space accessible and friendly to a variety of age groups.

“We are a group of 15-20 moms in Hopewell Heights and we are just  trying to bring an all-inclusive playground that all the kids can use, even if they have some type of disability,” organizer Jennifer Schade said. “Also, for the one- to five-year-olds in our community, there isn’t much for them to really do because the playground that we do have now has rocks, which isn’t good for crawling. So we want to get a rubberized play surface area.”

Currently, there is a metal play structure and a pair of swing sets, surrounded by a grassy area that could use more trees for shade, Schade said.

While council is supportive of the initiative, they have not pledged any money for the project. Schade says the group is in the early stages of fundraising, and is looking to bring in between $85,000 and $145,000 to incorporate most of the items on their wish list.

“All parks that are built now have to be accessible under the accessibility act,” Schade said. “In the one- to five-year-old play structure, we are hoping to have some type of sensory wall or some type of sensory activity that the younger kids can do as well, whether it’s sound or some type of touch wall.”

The Breslau Recreation Association held a family fun day June 20 in support of the project, and organizers are planning to host a fundraiser golf tournament at the Ariss Valley Golf and Country Club in September.

If things go well, Schade is hoping the renovation will take place next spring.

“I got involved in the Breslau Recreation Association, and then I knew all the moms had been talking to me about the park and the fact that the gravel wasn’t great and there was nowhere to sit and there was no shade for the kids,” she said. “Just by going to Kate’s Kause, and all of us have had to travel there, and that’s 20-25 minutes, which isn’t a huge deal, but when you have kids, it would be nice to have somewhere (local) where they could go. And there are kids in our community who have different needs and we have seen that and so it would be great if everybody could use the park. … We’re just moms who want to make the park great for everybody.”

For more information, or to donate through the group’s go fund me campaign, contact hopwellheightspark@hotmail.com.

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