Letter: Lots of progress made toward playground, more help still needed

Published 8:30 pm Friday, August 5, 2022

After meeting several families with different needs as an early childhood special education teacher, I am excited to be a part of the effort underway to raise money for an inclusive playground in Albert Lea.

What is an inclusive playground?

It is a sensory-rich environment that enables all children, regardless of ability, to develop physically, socially and emotionally. It provides children of all abilities the opportunity to interact with each other and play.

A group of dedicated parents and individuals are dedicated to making this opportunity available for our community and in the last year have worked toward this goal. We have gotten permission from the Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Board and City Council to go ahead with the project, researched and designed the park, secured a location and started fundraising. 

This has been such a rewarding journey in learning more about our community and seeing the excitement people have for this project.

To date, we have received commitments for $350,000 from the city and about $130,000 from individuals, businesses, grants and foundations.

We are about one third of the way to our final goal of $1.25 million. We will continue to move forward and work hard in the next year even with costs continuously increasing.

If you’ve never taken the opportunity and made time to be a part of a fulfilling project in your community, I encourage and welcome you to join our small team in helping Albert Lea reach its goal in the next year.

Everyone has something different to offer, whether it’s an idea about fundraising, the time and energy to provide labor at an event, or the means to make a contribution. If you want to get involved, please reach out to us by email at alltogetheralbertlea@gmail.com or call me at 507-402-0618.

Tax-deductible donations can be given through the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber Foundation.

I would like to thank the community, including the city of Albert Lea, for making this dream a reality for children and families, not only in Albert Lea but the surrounding communities.

Kara Paulson

Clarks Grove