Gabe's Dream Team Enters Design Phase for Accessible Playground - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Gabe's Dream Team Enters Design Phase for Accessible Playground

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As National Playground Safety Week wraps up, a local nonprofit organization is getting closer to creating a playground in Davenport that will be safe for children with special needs.

Gloria Cypret, founder of Gabe’s Dream Team, said the group will meet Monday with the city, the parks and recreation department, the historical preservation commission and inclusive playground developer Shane’s Inspiration. Together, the group will begin coming up with a conceptual design for an accessible playground at Vander Veer Park.

The playground is set to be the first fully-accessible playground in the city of Davenport.

Cypret founded the organization leading the effort after she discovered there were no playgrounds her 11-year-old grandson Gabe could play at in his wheelchair.

This past fall, Gabe’s Dream Team met with people from the community and city leaders to begin brainstorming ideas for the new playground. Ideas like an accessibly merry-go-round, an accessible swing, and sensory equipment were considered at the time.

Cypret said those ideas will be considered as the group enters the design phase. She said the new playground will mean a lot not only for children like her grandson, but for kids without special needs, too.

“There's nothing more exciting than to see kids play and see the enjoyment - especially for kids who are limited,” said Cypret. “It makes me happy to see that.”

Fellow team member Jo Ann Carmichael agreed.

“I believe understanding and knowledge of different types of people is just a great benefit to everyone,” said Carmichael. “It helps with tolerance and understanding.”

The team says its goal is to have the new playground in place of the old one at Vander Veer by spring 2015. But first, Cypret and Carmichael said the group needs to raise about $500,000. They said they will get into the fundraising phase after the design phase, but can apply for grants and accept donations now.

At a meeting with Gabe’s Dream Team in October, the city of Davenport said it was in support of the project and would contribute to it financially.

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