Until Dec. 15 all donations made to Richardson's Inclusive Playground Project will be doubled

A conceptual rendering shows what the Cottonwood Park playground could look like when the inclusive amenities are completed.

A conceptual rendering shows what the Cottonwood Park playground could look like when the inclusive amenities are completed.

For the next six weeks donations made to the city's Inclusive Playground Project will be matched by a $50,000 grant from The Rees-Jones Foundation in Dallas.

"Now is the best time to give to the Inclusive Playground since every dollar will be doubled with the matching grant," said Bruce MacPherson, chairman of the fundraising effort. "We are ending the fundraising effort in December and this $50,000 matching opportunity is a great way to make a big impact."

The project, spearheaded by the Richardson East Rotary Club and the city of Richardson, will expand the Cottonwood Park playground, located at 1301 W. Belt Line Road, Richardson, by adding inclusive amenities, such as ramps, specialized rubber surfacing and specially designed play equipment for users of all ability levels.

Improvements of nearby sidewalks, a garden provided by the Rotary Club, more handicap parking spaces, a wrought-iron fence, additional shade structures and a fully accessible family restroom with reinforced changing tables that will be situated near the playground are also included in the project's scope.

A committee made up of staff from the city's Parks and Recreation department as well as Rotary Club members began meeting in September 2016 to develop a conceptual plan and oversee fundraising efforts. The original goal for the project was to supplement $200,000 provided through the city's general obligation bond program by raising $250,000. As of the Oct. 15 City Council meeting, the committee had raised $407,219.

Enhancements that were added to the project over the design period have resulted in an increase of the budget, which now exceeds $900,000, said Lori Smeby, director of the parks and recreation department.

Charles and Ann Eisemann also recently contributed a $100,000 naming-rights gift as well as an additional $25,000 to help pay for the restroom facility.

Construction on the playground is scheduled to begin in January and conclude in April.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer

Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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