The fundraising efforts, which began in May, received a huge boost in July when the nonprofit received a $750,000 grant from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Forever Parks Foundation aims to raise $960,000 by Sept. 1 to begin the next steps in bringing the inclusive park to Pearland, said Nikki Kamkar, board member at Forever Parks Foundation.
“It’s been heartwarming to us how people have heard this story and heard the need for such a playground and really stepped up to donate,” Kamkar said.
An inclusive playground allows children of all abilities and developmental stages to play in the same space and creates a nurturing environment for all, state Rep. Ed Thompson, R-Pearland, wrote in a Facebook post. Thompson helped Forever Parks Foundation secure the $750,000, Kamkar said.
Some of the features the all-inclusive playground will include are a wheelchair swing, a sensory tunnel, a music area, a bird-themed hut, a gallery walk with 3D images of the playground design and it can even be used for physical therapy, Kamkar said.
If Forever Parks Foundation can reach the $960,000 goal by Sept. 1, the next step will be to order the equipment, Kamkar said. The plan is to break ground in January 2022 and finish by spring 2022. The park will be located at the Sports Complex at Shadow Creek Ranch.
Kamkar said she is confident the goal can be reached as a few companies and organizations, including local hospitals, are still considering donating. Once the playground is built, there will be a wall near the entrance recognizing all the donors who contributed $500 or more, Kamkar said.
“I think this is going to be one of these marquee things that makes Pearland so special,” Kamkar said. “I hope people are excited. I hope people can help us cross the donation finish line. Let's build this playground.”