Let’s face it.
There were many in the Edgar County community who didn’t believe the determined committee who began their quest to make an all-abilities playground available for our children would be successful.
Boy did they prove us wrong.
The committee members — none of whom took the mantle of chairman but worked together as one — raised close to $300,000 in monetary donations and in-kind donation to build the playground where special needs and able children can play together.
It wasn’t easy, but the committee members kept their eye on their goal — and made it happen. There were car shows. Businesses sponsored special sales and giveaways. There were fish fries, spaghetti dinners and bake sales. Of course Edgar County residents opened their checkbooks and made donations as did NAL employees, the Edgar County Community Foundation and the Paris Elks Lodge. Local business offered in-kind work including dirt work, grading, concrete work and trucking.
While the committee hoped to open the playground sooner, Mother Nature, a very wet spring and co-ordinating the donated work slowed completition down.
In the end, however, the delays really don’t matter. Because Friday morning, the new playground had children laughing and playing together. The swings were filled with some children, teens and young adults who had never been able to swing on a local playground. The children were all playing together — and everyone was standing at the fence watching.
Paris Mayor Craig Smith frequently talks about improving the lives of local residents through projects including a proposed bike trail. Projects like the trail and other lifestyle improvements will come about because local residents who care about our community make it happen.
This was the case for the Twin Lakes All-Abiltities Playground committee members. They saw a need and did something about it. And, because of their caring and commitment, all children are able to play together in Twin Lakes Park.