Neighborhood in Cedar Rapids raises money to make park more inclusive for children

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 5:51 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Cleveland Park on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids is now re-opened with renovations, and it was rebuilt with more than city funds.

The city budgeted $80,000 to fix up the playground. Leaders with the Cleveland Area Neighborhood Association wanted to make the playground bigger and more inclusive. So they matched the funding to make sure everybody could play at the park.

Amanda Scott and her two kids waited for weeks to play at Cleveland Park. They're happy with the finished product.

“We love it,” she said. “We live a few blocks away so it’s nice to walk to this playground. It has a few things other parks don’t have.”

There are two playgrounds. One for younger children and the other for older kids. The ADA compliant park is complete with ramps. There’s also a companion swing

“So happy for the kids,” said George Heeren, President of the Cleveland Area Neighborhood Association. “So happy for the families that they have a place to come during this pandemic, that they have a place to come where the kids can get some exercise and fresh air. All kids, it doesn’t have to be certain age groups.”

The neighborhood association raised money for the park through grants and a GoFundMe account. They say people in the neighborhood raised most of the money.

“Experiencing the joy through others that are able to enjoy this playground is really overwhelming,” said Nicole Schroeder, another member of the neighborhood association. “It makes my heart burst.”

The city said this is an example of the community coming together.

“We have to prioritize every year on what we are able to be able to do whether it’s playground replacement or parking lot improvements, any of those things take dollars so sometimes you have to prioritize,” said Scott Hock, Parks and Recreation Director. “And then when we have groups that come in and say we want to help and make sure that happens. That just makes it a lot easier for us to do that.”

Scott says people will take pride in the neighborhood. “It’s nice to bring something like this so close,” she said. “It used to be a pretty small park, so it’s nice that we have this attraction.” Leaders do want to remind people at the park to follow all social distancing guidelines.

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