EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Construction on the first all-abilities playground in El Paso will begin soon.
“An all-ability playground is a playground basically for everybody, so that means not only children,” said Leyla Zeidan, co-founder of Moms on Board (MOB), which is spearheading the project. “So we know in our community, we have grandparents that are taking care of their grandchildren, we have aunts, uncles, we have a large military family here that have maybe gone and come back and now maybe they have some disability.”
The project to build the playground is being organized by MOB in collaboration with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the County of El Paso. The goal is to raise money to build the playground at Ascarate Park.
“We don’t have anything like this of this size in our region. Our closest ones are either out by Albuquerque and Rio Rancho or Round Rock or Phoenix.,” said Zeidan.
El Pasoan Kellie Franco said she saw her brother Rusty, who has cerebral palsy, struggle with not being able to play on playgrounds growing up.
“Basically what that did was impact the left side of his body. So his left arm, his left leg, are much weaker than his right side,” Franco said. “So when we were kids, activities such as climbing, swinging, you know, hanging on to a merry go round, proved to be really challenging for him.”
Franco told KTSM 9 News that while her brother, who is now 32, never had an all-ability playground growing up, he will now be able to take her two young children to the new playground and will be able to play with them easier than he can on a traditional playground.
“It will be, you know, a little easier for him if he’s helping them get up on something that may have not been as easy,” said Franco.
MOB is holding a fundraiser that will allow people to buy a brick with their name or messages on it that will line the park.
“On those bricks, you can put your name, your children’s names, a past loved one, you can put a poem or a quote — just kind of something to put your signature mark and it will last a lifetime,” said Adrianne Moody, co-founder of MOB.
If you would like to donate, you can purchase a customized brick for $250 or a paver for $500. To do so, go to Mobep.org or email email@example.com.
Due to COVID-19, the start of construction has been delayed. The groundbreaking of the all-abilities playground is set to begin by the end of the summer or the end of the year.
The all-abilities playground at Ascarate Park is one of three that will be built. The others will be built at Gallegos Park in Canutillo and Risinger Park in Fabens.
The total cost of all three playgrounds is $2 million dollars.
- $1 million grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife.
- $750,000 from Moms on Board
- $250,000 from the County of El Paso