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Inclusive playground in the works for Grand Island

The project was started by a group of CCC occupational therapy students
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 10:20 AM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The city of Grand Island will join a growing list of Nebraska cities with an inclusive playground after a group of Central Community College students got a project off the ground.

Six occupational therapy students at CCC were tasked with coming up with a community project as part of one of their semester courses and landed on the idea of an inclusive playground. It will be an area that gives kids of all ages and abilities, both physical or mental, an opportunity to play and engage with the equipment. The proposal passed in Grand Island’s City Council meeting Tuesday.

The group approached the CCC Foundation to figure out if a project of this size would be possible and was met with excitement and approval. The foundation then approached community leaders in Grand Island to have a quasi-feasibility study before meeting with the city and the parks department to see just how a project of this size would work.

“We thought that it would have the biggest impact on the community for the longest time,” Occupational Therapy Assistant Bryan Klinginsmith said. “A playground like this will easily be around for the next 25 years and will affect so many people in Grand Island and in the surrounding communities.”

Kearney has an inclusive playground, Hastings is in the process of building one, as is York. Klinginsmith said it would not be a shock if he began seeing more pop up around the area.

What’s next for the project is the fundraising which will be led primarily by the CCC Foundation. The project overall has a $1 million price tag and will be funded entirely through private donations. Part of that fundraising plan is to include a $250,000 endowment for annual cost and maintenance of the playground. If fundraising goals are met, the project is expected to be done by 2023.

“I just think it’s incredible,” Dean Moors, the Executive Director of the CCC Foundation, said. “They [the students] ought to be very excited of what they’ve done, they ought to be proud of their efforts and when we get this money raised and project built it’s going to be something that the students in the program will be able to use one year down the road, five years, ten years and build it right into their class.”

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