Fundraising is still underway for a special-needs playground set to break ground next to Atascadero’s Colony Park Community Center.
North County nonprofit organization Parents for Joy is planning to build a magic forest-themed park, with the design approved by city leaders last year.
The playground will be open to everyone but tailored to children who struggle with muscle coordination and sensory functions. The playground will include features such as a wheelchair-accessible treehouse structure, a merry-go-round with seatbelts and special swings.
The city has told the group that most of the money needs to be raised before construction can begin, group organizers said. In the meantime, the group has submitted the plans made by North Coast Engineering in Paso Robles and is waiting for permits from the city. The city waived all of the group’s fees for the permits and has promised a speedy approval, organizers said.
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The park is estimated to cost $750,000. So far, about $300,000 of that has been raised in cash and in-kind service donations from contractors who will construct the park.
In addition to a fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, the group hopes to get the majority of its funding through grants. Having city-approved permits increases the possibility of receiving the grants, so the group hasn’t applied yet, organizers said.
The Parents for Joy Kid’s Day and Family Expo fundraiser is planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Sunken Gardens off El Camino Real. It will include an Atascadero Elks Club barbecue, bounce houses, inflatable jousting, face painting, local entertainment and vendors.
The event also includes a Dunk Tank Challenge, where Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley and police Chief Jerel Haley will be dropped in a tank of water if the group raises $5,000 by 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
To donate to the Dunk Tank Challenge, visit www.gofundme.com/parentsforjoy.