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Junior League of Reno breaks ground on one-of-a-kind playground in northern Nevada

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After three years of fundraising efforts, planning and anticipation, the Junior League of Reno held a groundbreaking ceremony today at the Dick Taylor Memorial Park marking the official start of construction on the region’s first Universally Accessible Playground (UAP). The formal groundbreaking was a public recognition of the $250,000 generously donated by local businesses, including naming sponsor, The Harrah’s Foundation. The UAP is set to open in mid 2012.

“We are thrilled to finally begin construction on a much-needed playground that will provide our region’s youth with a fun and accommodating environment,” said Maureen Zupon, president of Junior League of Reno. “This project has truly been a community-driven effort and could not have been done without  the generous support from local businesses and community members.”

Over the next few months, the Dick Taylor Memorial Park—donated by the City of Reno—will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind playground. The playground will satisfy current standards of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and feature special equipment that allows all children and family members to play together. This life-changing opportunity was made possible by generous support from local organizations such as the Harrah’s Foundation, the City of Reno, Barrick Gold, Nell J. Redfield Foundation, NV Energy and Whole Foods.

“The development of the playground is in line with our commitment to ensuring that community members can enjoy the world of recreation regardless of their needs or abilities,” said Zupon, park development planner for the City of Reno. “We are excited to be a part of this creation and know that it will be a valuable addition to our community.”

In addition to fundraising and volunteer support, the northern Nevada community played a key role in bringing the project to life during the design phase of the playground. Community groups and organizations participated in various focus groups to contribute design and construction ideas which were incorporated into the final model of the playground. All children, with or without disabilities, will be able to enjoy themselves on playground equipment such as adaptive swings, accessible horizontal ladders and monkey bars with a variety of height bars, to name a few. The playground will also include special pour-in-place rubber surfacing that makes it easier for wheelchairs to move while providing additional safety for those who may not be steady on their feet.

“We couldn’t be more proud to be part of an initiative that will create equal opportunity for all children in the area to explore and have fun,” said Terry Snodgrass of the Harrah’s Foundation. “Every child deserves to experience the wonder of the outdoors, and this playground will not only allow them to do so, but also set the example for future playground construction projects.”

The Junior League of Reno has successfully planned and completed a number of projects that have contributed to a better quality of life in northern Nevada. These projects include the Ronald McDonald House, the Discovery Room at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, Safe Haven and the Washoe County Graffiti Van.

The UAP is set to open in mid 2012 and to learn more about the park’s construction progress, “Like” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JrLeagueUAP.

For more information about Junior League of Reno, visit www.jlreno.org.

The Junior League of Reno (JLR) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization which has served the Reno-Sparks area since 1978. It is comprised of female volunteers committed to building a better community through community action, education and volunteerism. The first Junior League chapter started in New York in 1901. There are now 292 Junior Leagues in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and the United States.  JLR’s vision is to create a lasting impact on the community by enriching the quality of life for women and children through innovative projects, effective advocacy, generous community grants, and collaborative partnerships remains unchanged.  The Junior League of Reno has a rich history of community partnerships and projects. Each year, the Junior League of Reno sponsors a number of community projects intended to bring about change, growth and improvement. Current projects include: Susan G. Komen Race for The Cure, Universally Accessible Playground (UAP) Project, Done-In-A-Day Projects, Healthy Kids Fair, Kids in the Kitchen, and Nevada Discovery Museum Partnership.

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