Past President Jody Harris and her committee are working hard on a big project - a really big project that will benefit all children of the Athens area and especially those with handicaps. We are working in collaboration with Athens Community Arts, Parks, and Recreation to renovate and update The Southside Park on Richland Avenue.

Play is critical to the healthy development of every child. Children with disabilities often do not have the opportunity for participation in play activities due to physical and social barriers. Athens County needs accessible playground equipment and swings. Rotary's goal is to create a play environment which would recognize every child's right to equality of play opportunities.

•Provide accessible playground equipment so children of all abilities can participate in play;
•Increase inclusion of children with disabilities (an accessible playground can be utilized by children with and without disabilities and encourage interaction between them);
•Refurbish and purchase new benches to allow parents and caregivers close access;
•Provide additional accessible picnic tables and paint existing tables;
•Assist Athens Community Arts, Parks and Recreation in park beautification to repair grounds damaged by the installation of playground equipment and road construction;
•Seek contributions from individuals, other civic groups, community business and corporations, and foundations (local funds raised will be used to match state grants).
•A ground breaking and dedication ceremony will be scheduled to recognize all contributors.

The Southside Park on Richland Avenue was chosen because of the new accessible bathrooms and the potential for growth and increased use. The proposed park does not have accessible playground equipment or swings for children 2-5 years old. Once road construction is completed, there will be a walking path going through the park connecting to the bike path which will increase traffic flow and use of the park.

For more information call: Jody Harris, President (740) 667-6201

Contributions can be made to
The Athens Rotary Club, P.O. Box 681, Athens, Ohio 45723
Tax deductable contributions can be made to the
Athens Rotary Foundation, 35 North College Street, Athens, Ohio 45701
stipulate the Playground Project

We need everyone's help to bring this project to fruition. Please volunteer some time and talent to one of the committees - Fundraising, PR, Design, See the Events section for committee meeting times or call Jody.