Funds roll in for all-inclusive playground as city breaks ground on future site

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The city of Huntsville has just broken ground on the new recreation center in Hampton Cove which means the area is one step closer to getting a universal playground.

The Cove Universal Playground will be a 15,000 square feet space for all-inclusive play. The city of Huntsville is providing infrastructure including fencing, lighting, and parking for the playground.

This will be the first universal playground in north Alabama that caters to children and caregivers of different cognitive and physical abilities. The only other playground of its type is in Hoover, Alabama.

Building a universal playground is expensive. The first phase is $650,000.

Jessica Berkholtz is the Cove Universal Playground Committee Lead. She says thankfully, they are gathering support from across north Alabama.

"As of today, we have raised $145,000. We do have a matching grant from the manufacturer that's going up to $110,000 so for the first phase of the playground we are about a third of the way there in equipment purchases," said Berkholtz.

A chunk of the funds raised came from state senators, representatives, and local commissioners.

"Its been really inspiring that our community leaders in Madison County and from the state have been the first ones to reach out to us," said Berkholtz.

Madison County Commissioner Craig Hill says it's important to give back to the community through special projects.

"We have from this district committed funds. Its taxpayer funds and we're just returning the money to the communities. It's not another neighborhood playground. It will service a lot of children," said Hill.

The hope is that phase one of the playground will be open in the fall of 2020. They still need to raise about $400,000 before next summer to complete phase one. They are looking for funding from corporate sponsors, community sponsors, and grants.

"We have to wait for the recreation center to be mostly completed before we can come in and install playground equipment. After that, we will raise fund for the second phase which will be built hopefully in 2021 or as soon as possible," says Berkholtz

If you would like to help fund the playground, Berkholtz says no amount is too little. You can make a donation to the Cove Universal Playground online.

Your tax-deductible donation to the Cove Universal Playground will have a direct impact on enriching the lives of children and caregivers in the community. Use the link below to donate through their partner, Operation Green Team.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to the Operation Green Team website
  2. Click on “Donate” on the main page
  3. Select a donation amount and complete all required information
  4. In the “Special Designation” field, note CUP as the benefactor
  5. Click “Submit”
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