The Shaw Family Playground has received a challenge grant from an anonymous supporter to help them to achieve their $1,000,050 goal. The project will see an inclusive playground constructed at Evergreen Park at the corner of Calumet Drive and N. 25th Street that allows children of all abilities to enjoy the play equipment. The funds raised to date are nearly $700,000 – almost three quarters of the amount needed to build the playground and create an endowment fund for future maintenance. Additionally, the Shaw Family Playground is building and gifting a new restroom and pavilion building which will feature men’s and women’s restrooms, family restrooms with adult changing stations, and a shaded picnic area.
An anonymous donor has pledged to match up to $250,000 of all new donations received to fund the development of this project through August 31, 2018. Supporters are invited to personally be a part of the Shaw Family Playground by purchasing engraved fence pickets that will encircle the playground. Individual or family engraved fence pickets are available for $100 each or four for $375. Corporate and business engraved fence pickets are available for $250 each or four for $975. The Shaw Family Playground is partnered with the Sheboygan Jaycees as their fiscal agent, allowing every donation to be tax deductible.
After years of planning and preparation, an official groundbreaking for the construction of the Shaw Family Playground was held Monday, July 16. For ten years the project has been the dream of Angie and Ryan Shaw, parents of formerly conjoined twins Mateo and McHale. The twins, who underwent a miracle separation surgery, have inspired the design and construction of the 100% accessible playground.
Ryan and Angie began working to fundraise for a playground after Angie gave birth to conjoined twins, Mateo and McHale in May 2006. In September 2006, a team of 65 medical professionals spent 19 hours separating the spinal cord the boys shared. Now the boys are healthy, in school, and have friends they want to share a playground and park with.
The Shaw family is overjoyed to see their dream start on the path towards becoming a reality and they are extremely grateful to every donor who has contributed to the playground fundraising. Without the generosity of so many compassionate donors, the project would have never come so far. The Sheboygan community has really pulled together for the project. Mike Kleist and Buteyn Peterson have completed all site prep to prepare the site for construction. Steven Schmitt is leading the fundraising campaign and managing the construction details. Faith Technologies is donating electrical services, Miller Engineers is donating their engineering services, Eric Jensen and Distinctive Design Studios is donating their architectural services, and Kohler is donating plumbing fixtures. Sun Graphics donated all marketing materials. The Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation, the John C. and Katherine B. Miller Charitable Fund of Lakeshore, an anonymous donor, and HearthStone have been big supporters. The City of Sheboygan has provided property within Evergreen Park. Many in-kind donations are still needed as the Shaw Family Playground took on the entire restroom and pavilion in March 2018. Skilled help of masons and carpenters is needed to complete the restrooms. Donations of concrete block are needed for the pavilion.
With your help, this project will allow children of all abilities to play “inclusively”, while offering developmental benefits and lots of fun. Inclusive playgrounds allow people of all abilities to enjoy the equipment. Even Grandma and Grandpa will appreciate the barrier-free environment supported by level surfaces and double-wide ramps. Disabled adults will be able to be alongside their children at the playground – perhaps for the first time in their lives. The Shaws and their supporters believe that accessible playgrounds should offer inclusion, not just accessibility, so all kids can play together no matter where they are on the playground.
To learn more about the Shaw Family Playground and how to donate, visit shawfamilyplayground.com and click on the “Partner With Us” tab. Each generous contribution is another great step towards an enriched community and a better life for all children, regardless of the individual challenges they face. Help finish the necessary fundraising to see a ribbon cutting ceremony take place this September.