A BIG ($150K)THANK YOU to the Helen and Morris Silver Foundation.

We are so excited to announce a very generous donation of $150,000 to the All-Abilities Playground Project from the Helen and Morris Silver Foundation!!!!!

Here is the official press release from Missoula Parks and Recreation:

The Playground Project in McCormick Park

On Thursday, January 17, Mayor John Engen will accept a $150,000 grant from the Morris and Helen Silver Foundation to begin construction of a new, universally-accessible playground in McCormick Park. The public is invited to attend the announcement and celebration afterward.

The Playground Project at McCormick Park includes play equipment for children of all ages and abilities. The new playground features wheelchair-accessible surfacing and adaptive play equipment to bring all children together in play. To design the playground, Parks and Recreation staff met with focus groups of kids using wheelchairs, kids on the autism spectrum and youth with other disabilities.

Parks and Recreation Director Donna Gaukler says the new playground will be an exciting play space for all Missoula children. “It’s vitally important to create inclusive play spaces in our community, where people of all ages and abilities can play together. Playgrounds are where kids are most active, and where they learn creativity and problem-solving. This playground allows all children to gain the developmental and health benefits derived from unstructured play in an inclusive environment.” The new playground expands on the vision of the Bonner Park All-Children’s wheelchair-accessible playground by bringing the latest inclusive play technology to Missoula—including play features for children with sensory, cognitive and multiple disabilities.

Gaukler says the Playground Project at McCormick Park also offers a variety of community benefits. “We’re very excited to be building the first playground of this type in state of Montana, and we expect it will draw visitors from around the region, just as MOBASH Skatepark does. Special amenities in parks and a healthy built environment are important factors in our community’s quality of life and economic vitality. With the addition of the playground to McCormick Park, we’re creating a universally-accessible recreation zone, including Currents Aquatics Center, Silver’s Lagoon, and the Ron MacDonald Riverfront Trail System.”

The project is funded by the $150,000 Silver Foundation grant, a $50,000 capital improvement contribution from the City, and funds raised by the All-Abilities Playground Project, a group of local parents and children committed to bringing inclusive play to Missoula. The total needed to start construction of Phase 1 of the project is $350,000 and the fund balance currently sits at $291,000. “We’re close enough to put the project construction out to bid this spring,” Gaukler says. “To start construction in late summer, we’ll need the community’s help to raise the additional $59,000.” Citizens can donate to the project by visiting www.allabiltiesplayground.org.

Thursday’s celebration will be held at 2:30 p.m. in McCormick Park, 600 Cregg Lane, near the existing playground. Citizens are invited to attend and learn more about the project. A short reception will follow in Currents Aquatics Center. The Silver Foundation is a philanthropic organization created by the Silver family, who donated a portion of the land for McCormick Park to the City in 1937.

For more information on the Playground Project in McCormick Park, visit www.allabilitiesplayground.org or phone Parks and Recreation Director Donna Gaukler at 552-6265.


Thank you again Missoula Community Foundation!

Thank you to the Missoula Community Foundation, for a generous gift of $1715!! In addition to their 2011 gift of $1000, they have been a significant supporter of The Playground Project. We are tremendously grateful!!

Laugh for a Change

Thank you to Laugh for a Change who raised $269 for the playground at their recent comedy show!!! Be sure to catch this hilarious troupe on 2nd Saturdays at the Elbow Room.

Missoula Maulers

Thanks to Hellgate Senior Jordann Murphy and teacher Matthew Quinlan who raised funds at the Missoula Maulers game February 17.  Thank you Maulers for your support!!

$5,000 gift from Saint Pat’s Hospital

We were thrilled to receive a generous $5,000 gift from the Mission Board of Saint Patrick Hospital last month.  As soon as St. Pat’s heard about the Playground Project, they were quick to give their strong support to the cause of inclusive play for all children.  What a wonderful and generous community we live in!  Thanks to St. Pat’s for leading the way with this significant gift.

Do you know of a foundation, service organization, business or individual who may wish to learn more about The Playground Project?  Contact us and we’ll be sure to follow up.

Donation from Missoula Community Foundation

We extend our sincere thanks to the Missoula Community Foundation for donating $1,000 to The Playground Project.  This was an unsolicited donation from a fantastic group that “got it” as soon as they heard about our efforts.  We were delighted to attend a check-presentation ceremony January 11 where Patsy O’Keefe spoke eloquently about the importance of The Playground Project to our community.  Thank you Patsy and MCF for all you do for Missoula!

Let’s Do It Like Grace!

Grace is a 6th grader at Paxson Elementary who contacted us because she wanted to help with the Playground Project. She has committed to raising $500 for an adaptive swing through bake sales, starting at her home near Grizzly Stadium next Saturday (game day)! Thanks to this go-get-’em girl who sets an example for all of us — aim high and get moving to make a difference for someone else! Contact us to volunteer for a task that fits your talents and time available.