Templeton Guide|Friday, September 22, 2017
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Atascadero receives grant money to go towards special needs playground 

Parents for Joy accessible playground

Parents for Joy is working to build a fully accessible playground in Atascadero. The group has the land, but is still working on raising all the necessary funding.

City received grants after constructing affordable housing

–The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) announced that it has issued the last of its $36 million in funding for its Housing Related Parks grant program. The money from the HCD’s Housing-Related Parks Program will go towards improving parks in 64 cities and 31 counties across California. The City of Atascadero was one of the cities awarded. The city will receive $359,658 in park grants based on 201 affordable housing units that were constructed by private developers and non-profit organizations within the city from 2010 through 2016.

The City of Atascadero submitted the application for the HCD grant earlier this year, requesting funds for the Parents for Joy Playground and various Lake Park projects. This grant, while non-competitive, had 95 municipalities throughout the state seek awards for producing affordable housing units to go towards creation, construction, and acquisition of new parks. Mayor O’Malley was pleased with the update and said, “This is great news for the project and for the kids that will be able to enjoy the playground! We are thrilled to see a major part of the funding come available for Parents for Joy and other park projects!”

Since early 2014, the city has been working with Parents for Joy, who is represented by the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) organization, to develop an inclusive special needs playground. The playground design was originally approved in July of 2014 with the location to be provided by the City at Colony Park and funds to be provided through grants and community donations. In April of 2015, Parents for Joy gave the playground a name, the “Joy Playground.” The non-profit group worked with a local area contractor and architect to complete the plans for building the playground to design standards.

It’s estimated that Parents for Joy will need to have close to $750,000 to be able to build the Joy Playground. The news of the HCD grant is a huge step towards that total. There are many ways to continue to help! For information on donating to the Joy Playground, please visit their website at www.parentsforjoy.org or email parentsforjoy@gmail.com.

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