Can’d Aid’s Berthoud Adaptive Park Project to Build the First Fully Accessible Playground

Colorado-based nonprofit Can’d Aid is raising funds to build a fully accessible public playground in Berthoud, to serve as the first park of its kind in the mid-northern Colorado area. Inspired by Berthoud’s Bowling family, this project is a part of Can’d Aid’s Treads + Trails mission to provide tools and access for underserved populations to live healthy and active lifestyles.

Donations of any amount are encouraged to be placed online. The Braly Family Foundation will match up to $25,000 in donations through Dec. 31. All donations made to the Berthoud Adaptive Park Project will be used to create as many accessible and inclusive options as possible.

The fully adaptive park is a complex project currently planned for development in 2022 in partnership with Will Edwards of Edwards Development, landscape architect Steve Wiens of Stacklot, and Erin Starr of Star Playgrounds.

“The passion to bring accessibility to this community makes this project truly unique. There’s a great level of understanding already that this type of project will be expensive and require a lot of time and everyone is very enthusiastic about moving forward,” said Starr.

A true community-based project, the idea for Berthoud Adaptive Park was sparked from the needs of a Colorado family.  Lauren and Richard Bowling are the parents of three young children, five-year-old Braxton and four-year-old twins Mack and Miles. During Lauren’s pregnancy, Mack and Miles were diagnosed with twin-to-twin Twin Transfusion Syndrome and, in either in labor or delivery, Miles was without oxygen long enough to result in a traumatic brain injury, known as Periventricular Leukomalacia, that ultimately led to the development and diagnosis of spastic triplegia cerebral palsy at age two. Though not affected cognitively or verbally, Miles is unable to stand or walk by himself which makes him dependent on a wheelchair for his mobility, freedom, and independence.

“The closest ADA accessible playground to us is 40 minutes away,” said Lauren. “The community had no plans to build an adaptive playground, so we wanted to help provide that space for Miles and other children in the area.”

Because of the high cost of building an ADA accessible and fully adaptive playground, Can’d Aid is organizing fundraising efforts and plans to host community events to provide volunteer labor when appropriate. The goal of the fundraiser is to assist the Bowling family and the project developers in any way necessary to help reach the goal of bringing accessibility and inclusion closer to home for many in the mid-northern Colorado area.

“Can’d aid works to empower people to make change in their communities,” said Diana Ralston, executive director of Can’d Aid. “We want to inspire more people to build inclusivity and healthy activities into their communities.”

Can’d Aid’s Treads + Trails program provides tools and access for underserved populations to live healthy and active lifestyles, which makes the Berthoud Adaptive Park Project a perfect opportunity to listen and respond to one community’s unique needs.

Once funds are raised for a few key ADA accessible components, Lauren and the developer will create as many accessible and inclusive options as the budget allows. While an accessible park may have been inspired by Miles and the Bowling family, the Can’d Aid team and partners —all big dreamers—envision that this playground is a premier destination for children and parents with a wide range of disabilities and plan to build inclusivity into every aspect of the park’s development.

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