After spending eight years in pursuit of bringing an all-inclusive playground to the City of Reno, Reno Council Member Amanda Willows announced Monday night the city was awarded a Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant to help make the dream a reality.
Willows said this dream came about when she read an article in 2015 about a very special playground in Round Rock, Texas, which was developed for all children in the community to have a fun and safe place to play in an all-inclusive environment.
“This special place touched my heart,” she said. “I realized that this was something we need for our citizens – a playground that could be enjoyed by children and parents of all abilities.”
Thus, the “Reno Play for All Abilities Project” was created and presented to Reno Kiwanis Organization and the City of Reno.
In October 2015, Willows said, Reno City Council voted to create the Reno Parks and Trail Committee.
“City staff and Parks and Trail Committee members immediately took interest in and worked diligently on this project,” she said. “Over time, thanks to our council and fundraisers like the Reno Haunted Trail, we were able to purchase a few all-inclusive playground equipment additions for our existing playground.”
The new equipment – which included a hippo with anatomy features labeled in braille for the visually impaired, music equipment for sensory development and special swing for children with limited mobility – was introduced at the “Reno Day at the Park” on June 3, 2017. During the Reno Day at the Park celebration, the organization shared its dream of the all-inclusive playground with the community and applied for a grant in 2019, which was denied.
“After eight years of determination and dedication, the City of Reno is happy to announced that we have been awarded the Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant to build our all-inclusive playground – a place where children of ALL abilities can come together to play in a fun and safe environment,” Willows said.
Tricia Smith, Reno City Secretary, said they are all beyond excited to be awarded the grant. She said they will be able to move forward with this project in just a few, short months.
“Special thanks go out to our City Secretary (Tricia Smith) for all her hard work on this project,” Willows said during the Monday announcement. “We also want to thank Charles Edwards of Grant Works, Tyler Creamer with Hayter Engineering, Reno Parks and Trail Committee members past and present, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the numerous citizens who have shown their support throughout this process, and our city council.”