Lake Monticello Community Foundation breaks ground on all-inclusive playground

A playground at Lake Monticello is getting a $100,000 makeover, in efforts to make it more inclusive to families.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 4:59 PM EDT
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Fluvanna County, Va. (WVIR) - A playground at Lake Monticello is getting a $100,000 makeover, in efforts to make it more inclusive to families. When it is finished, the all-inclusive playground will be the first of its kind in central Virginia.

Hallie Earman is a mother of three living in Scottsville, and she says the additions are something that will make a difference for her family. One of her sons faces mobility issues and most playgrounds are not safe for his needs. Although Lafayette Park is 25 minutes away from her home, it will be the closest inclusive site for her and her children.

“I love the idea of being able to bring all of my boys somewhere where we all can play together,” Earman said. “It’s hard enough to take Jack, who is disabled, places, and then the extra barrier of distance and time to get there makes it that much harder to play at the playground as a family.”

The issue of access was recognized by the Lake Monticello Community Foundation as more families moved to the area. Members of the group say a different mother expressed the need for changes to the site, which made them recognize how doing so, would help many families and overall improve the community aspect of the neighborhood.

Instead of scrapping the site on Lafayette Drive, the foundation is focusing on adding what is necessary to the existing space.

“We will be fencing it in, we’re going to pour a smooth surface so that people with walking aids or in wheelchairs can navigate on it, and we’ve got two specialized new pieces of playground equipment,” Lake Monticello Community Foundation President Nancy Parsons said.

The group had a goal of raising $100,000 to make the changes, and in less than two years of fundraising, the funding was there.

“We have had donations from $5 to $1,000 and more, just all across the spectrum of people who just think this is a great idea and want to support it,” Parsons said.

“They raised an incredible amount of money very quickly, and to me, that says that they want Jack to be able to go to a playground and to play with other kids his age, and they want to support my family and others like me,” Earman said.

The foundation aims to have the playground renovated by May 29, on Memorial Day.

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