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NEW BREMEN — It all started with a laugh, and after a year and a half of fundraising, planning and designing, the Sunshine Playground structure is now standing in Bremenfest Park.
Approximately 55 volunteers split into five teams Saturday morning to put together the structure of the 100 percent handicapped accessible playground. The Sunshine Playground will be the only handicapped accessible playground in west central Ohio.
Project Manager and New Bremen-New Knoxville Rotary President Kristin Hough addressed volunteers before the build. Hough told volunteers about her niece, Camryn Murgatroyd, who was born with microcephaly, which caused cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Hough said she was inspirited to pursue building the Sunshine Playground after seeing Camryn giggle at a similar playground in Newark, noting that an accessible playground is not available in the area.
Although Camryn passed away in 2009, Hough said the Sunshine Playground will affect the lives of many area special needs children and their families.
“This project today is bigger than all of us,” Hough said to the volunteers. “You have no idea how much this is going to affect the lives of others.”
Hough thanked all the volunteers for their help and the builders for their leadership.
“I’m 1,000 percent sure this crew is going to do a good job,” Hough said.
The five teams of volunteers went to work, completing the entire structure of the playground in approximately six hours. Grand Lake Health System and Benson the therapy dog were on hand to provide the volunteers with food and drinks throughout the build.
The playground, Hough said, will be open in mid June, as the rubber, cement and fencing still need to be added. Hough described the experience of putting the playground together as “surreal.”
“It’s a humbling experience to see how many companies and people have come together to make this a reality,” she said.
Hough noted the Sunshine Playground will benefit children across the area.
“This is not a New Bremen playground,” Hough said. “It’s for all the area kids.”
The playground will also benefit parents who are in a wheelchair, she added.
“It’s also great for parents that are wheelchair bound, so they can play with their kids,” she said.
Hough said seeing the playground being put together has been the most rewarding part of her experience as the project manager so far.
“Seeing it all done and knowing what it’s going to do for the kids,” she said. “It’s nice to see everyone working together.”
Hough said she was grateful for all the support the Sunshine Playground has received.
“I want to thank everybody,” she said.
“Anyone that helped, volunteered, donated and said prayers. This could not have been done without their help.”
For more information about the Sunshine Playground, visit RotarySunshineProject.org.