Hillcrest parent working to crowdfund inclusive playground
Peg Chaidez, a parent of three Hillcrest students, shared with the District 58 Board of Education May 12 her proposal to crowdfund an inclusive, accessible playground at the school. Her youngest son uses a wheelchair, and after his wheels got stuck in the playground wood chips on his first day of school, she promised him she would try to find a way to make a difference.
“We are trying to build a community at Hillcrest for students of all abilities and grade levels,” Chaidez said.
The playground would feature a recycled rubber surface, double-wide ramps and connected structures so everyone can be included. The plans also include a relaxation station for quiet reflection or reading, and also a wheelchair swing.
“My son has always wanted to fly, and now he will have that opportunity in his wheelchair,” Chaidez said.
The playground will benefit not just students at the school, but all of Downers Grove and the surrounding communities, Chaidez said. The cost for the full playground and installation is $450,000. Chaidez plans to raise all of the funds online through a crowd-funding platform and funnel the money through the school’s PTA. A factory-certified installation crew will be hired to ensure the playground is compliant and safe, and community volunteers may be called upon to assist.
Controller James Popernik said the plan is to have the proposal on the June board agenda for approval.