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Modesto boy pushes for playground for all

You might call 9-year-old Tommy Loredo? Well, we’ll let him tell you.

“Passionate and strong," said Tommy.

Loredo started using a wheelchair when he turned 2-years-old.

Getting around in the sand can be a chore, but with a smooth surface soon, no more.

“He was born with a few different conditions, the major one being arthogryposis which mostly affects his lower half," said mother Rachel Loredo.

Community members in Modesto are rallying around Tommy and others to create what will be called the Awesome Spot Playground.

“There’s nowhere in town designed to allow everyone to play together," said Chad Kennedy of Modesto's O'Dell Engineering.

Kennedy is the architect behind the nature-themed playground and says lots of community input went into essential concepts.

Only a few similar playgrounds exist in the state.

“Balance. Your understanding and awareness of where you are in space. And the ability to know what your inner feelings are in your body and how to deal with those," said Kennedy.

No longer will swings be inaccessible to kids like Tommy.

There will be a variety of swings at the new playground including one where the wheelchair rolls onto a platform and the entire platform swings.

“And I would like every child to have that experience of swinging on a swing, going down the slide, and being free to just do what they want to do," said community advocate Kelly Gloria.

Even adults can get in on the fun, those who have family or friends who also have difficulty navigating a basic playground.

The Awesome Spot Playground will be built close to the existing playground at Beyer Park.

The cost is $2.5 million and 12 percent has been raised to have it built.

It sets to break ground in the Summer of 2018.

Tommy is excited not just for himself, but for others.

“Not only do I get to enjoy it but other kids too," said Tommy.

If you would like to donate, contact the City of Modesto or go to www.theawesomespotplayground.com.

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