PALO ALTO, Calif. — Dreams of bringing the "Disneyland of playgrounds" to Modesto are now one step closer to becoming a reality.
The group behind the "Awesome Spot Playground," meant for children of all abilities, has now raised more than $1 million; the halfway point of their fundraising goal. And the whole plan was set into motion by 11-year-old Tommy Loredo.
ABC10 first met Tommy two years ago as his family was working through the fundraising process to bring a playground for all to Modesto. But in order to bring a playground like this to town, it was going to cost upwards of $2.5 million.
Rachel Loredo, founder of the Awesome Spot Playground, hit the ground running four years ago, contacting Modesto's city and county leaders to develop a plan for what would later be called the Awesome Spot Playground and started fundraising efforts right away.
As their team hit a major fundraising milestone — a recent donation from the city of Modesto, reaching their halfway mark with more than $1.2 million — Rachel and Tommy took ABC10 to the "Magical Bridge Playground" in Palo Alto, the most magical place that inspired this goal.
"It was really invigorating for our team to see that milestone be hit and it just kind of reignited the passion of why we're doing this," Rachel said. "How do we bring something as wonderful as this to our community to share with the families that would benefit from having an inclusive playground?"
"An inclusive playground allows children and adults of all abilities to play together," Rachel said, with Tommy adding that children can lock their wheelchairs "in it without having to worry about falling out."
Children who use wheelchairs or walkers are often left on the sidelines of typical playgrounds, Rachel noted.
"Where everyone can play," Tommy said. "Every time I come here and see all of the people, I can come here and see all of the other people in wheelchairs like me."
The playground comes complete with wide ramps all over, smooth surfaces, accessible swings, and a slide mountain. Tommy hopes to make this dream a reality in Modesto by spring of 2020.
To learn more about the inclusive playground or to find out how you can help make their dream become a reality, click here.
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