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Tom Brooks
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Knickers or Nothin' donated $10,000 to the Inclusive Playground. Bottom right is co-founder Matt Paresky. The smiling young man on the left is Matt's son, Solomon. Standing (L-R) Stephanie Paresky (Matt's wife & Solomon's mom); Bruce MacPherson, Richardson East Rotary; Marta Frey, Richardson City Council; Kenn Smith, Richardson East Rotary Foundation President; Bob Dubey, Richardson City Council; and kneeling in the center is Mark Solomon, mayor pro tem of Richardson.

Richardson, TX - More than 10 percent of the fund-raising goal to build an “inclusive playground” in Richardson was announced at the first annual Picnic for the Playground l at Cottonwood Park.
Inclusive Playground Fund Raising Logo

The picnic was hosted by Richardson East Rotary Club (RERC) and was the first of an annual event to promote and raise awareness of the inclusive playground, which is a collaboration between the City of Richardson and RERC.

The effort will replace Cottonwood Park’s aging playground with a facility that will provide challenging and fun play for people of all abilities.

A surprise donation of $10,000 from the nonprofit group Knickers or Nothin’ brought the fund-raising total to nearly $26,000, more than 10 percent of the goal, on the first day of the campaign. Richardson East Rotary Club also presented a check to the City for $10,000 at the picnic. Coupled with another donation from RERC of nearly $6,000, the kickoff of the campaign yielded just over 10 percent of the $250,000 fund raising goal.Most of the RERC funds were rasied at the club’s annual fund raiser, Rotary Cares – Games & Gala.

Rotary and the City adopted the theme “Make It Happen” for the fund-raising campaign and revealed their campaign logo at the event.

The City has about $200,000 to fund a basic playground to replace the aging facility at Cottonwood Park. Inclusive playgrounds require more expensive equipment and surfaces to provide access for all abilities to the play areas. The City and RERC have a target cost of $450,000 to build a fully inclusive playground. Richardson East Rotary Club has teamed with the City to promote the playground and assist in raising the funds from private sources.

About 150 residents from nearby neighborhoods, Rotarians, city officials and representatives from special needs communities attended the picnic. RERC provided picnic food plus a bounce house, face painter and balloon artist for the children attending.

An informal committee with representatives from RERC, the Richardson Parks & Recreation Department and community members has worked on preliminary designs that will go through the standard City public input and review process.

Rotarians distributed a brochure to picnic attendees and asked citizens to donate financially and with their time. The facility might be constructed as a “community build,” with hands-on participation from citizens, corporations, and nonprofit organizations.

You can donate and learn more about the effort at www.richardsoneastrotary.org.

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