Rachel’s Kids Park of Hope
Our newest project, the Rachel’s Kids Park of Hope, will provide a fully inclusive playground where children of all ages and abilities can safely interact and socialize without barriers and accessibility challenges. We have partnered with the City of Cornwall who is providing us the physical space to build this park and who will assume liability and ongoing maintenance for the park, once the project is complete. This partially fenced area located at 13th St and Cumberland Ave. in Cornwall, currently houses a splash pad and a washroom facility.
The Rachel’s Kids Park of Hope is designed to cater to the needs of ALL children including those with visual, hearing, cognitive, sensory, or physical impairments. Auditory, tactile, proprioception and visual sensory systems will be engaged and a range of motor, cognitive and social skills will be promoted.
The Needs Assessment/Design Process
In February,2023 a survey was circulated by the City of Cornwall to ask people if they felt there was a need for additional inclusive features at their park and if so, what inclusive features they would like to see. The response was that there is a resounding need and we have incorporated their suggestions into the design of our proposed park. As well we have held focus group meetings to engage over a dozen children’s agencies and service providers, as well as parent groups in our community to gather specific feedback as to what is required for the end users:
The four main elements of our design include:
- Structures that are accessible to those in a wheelchair and swings that provide additional trunk support for children requiring it.
- Elements to engage auditory, tactile, proprioception and visual sensory systems.
- Activities to promote of a range of motor, cognitive and social skills.
- Imaginative play.
In conjunction with the City of Cornwall, we will prepare and forward the Requests for Proposal (RFP) to various accredited equipment providers in September 2023 and a partner will be selected in early November. We will discuss final design options in consultation with the chosen provider, and the equipment will be ordered in December 2023. Site prep will begin early spring 2024 with construction to be completed in the summer of 2024.
Our proposed budget is $600,000. The cost of specialized park equipment with delivery fees will run approximately $450,000 and the rubberized surfacing required for maximum accessibility will be an additional $150,000. To realize this dream will require a great deal of fundraising and support from individuals, as well as businesses and tapping into available grant funding.
We can all benefit by coming together as a community to fund this project. Beyond the Rachel’s Kids Park of Hope providing a gathering place for children of ages and abilities to play, learn and have FUN, it promotes an active lifestyle, and it builds better social skills and physical strength in children. It can attract visitors and potential new residents to the area, provide opportunities for newcomers and parents/caregivers to establish social networks, become a location for local therapists to conduct sessions and be the impetus for change towards an increase in inclusivity in future park builds and other public spaces.
Your support is needed and always greatly appreciated. There are a variety of sponsorship opportunities outlined below:
- Make a financial donation to the overall Rachel’s Kids Park of Hope Fundraising Campaign
- Select and purchase a specific piece of park equipment from our equipment gallery
- Sponsor a fundraising event associated with the Rachel’s Kids Park of Hope
- Hold a fundraiser at your work, school, community organization or home and donate proceeds to Rachel’s Kids Park of Hope.
- Assemble a team of volunteers to assist with a portion of the community park build.
You may reach us by e-mailing us at Helpingkids@rachelskids.com. Like and follow us on Facebook: Rachel’s Kids Local & International and on Instagram: Rachelskids_localinternational.