Statement issued Monday:
Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Downtown Optimist Club of Fort Wayne, Inc. presented a $40,000 gift to Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll today for the state’s first boundless playground project.
The donation will be used to construct 4 shade structures at Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground. The Optimist Club donation will take the total raised to over $1.3 million, with $125,000 still needed to maintain this inclusive play area in Kreager Park. The Optimist Club was inspired by Taylor Reuille’s vision to build a playground where all kids could play together. Boundless playgrounds allow children with physical, developmental, cognitive and sensory disabilities to play too.
“We’re pleased to participate in outfitting the playground,” said Optimist Club President Ruth Hammer. “Our aim over the years has always been to help area youth.”
John C. Kohr, prominent Fort Wayne Realtor for many years prior to his death in December 1955, at the age of 71 years, was a charter member of the Downtown Optimist Club. Mindful of the needs of youth in the community, Mr. Kohr willed the Optimist Club his 100 acre farm located on Hathaway Road in Allen County. The annual proceeds from this acreage has enabled the Downtown Optimist Club to support many youth activities and civic projects such as Little League baseball programs, Mental Health’s film library, Indiana State Police Respect for Law Camps, and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s Discovery Box program.
“We’re thrilled with the support we’ve received from the Downtown Optimist Club,” said Director Moll. “I can’t think of anything more optimistic than working together to build a place where all children can play.”
The purpose of the Downtown Optimist Club of Fort Wayne is to develop optimism as a philosophy of life utilizing the tenets of the Optimist Creed; to promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs; to inspire respect for the law; to promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people; to aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world. The Downtown Optimist Club of Fort Wayne is associated with Optimist International, as well as the Indiana State Association.
Fort Wayne’s Boundless Playground at Kreager Park will have three pods of playground equipment and activity areas, a splash pad, accessible ramps and walkways, a picnic pavilion and accessible parking. Landscaping will add to the sensory experience of the facility, as will the multiple types of surface used in the various pods.
Community support is vital to maintain the playground. Donations of $500 or more will be recognized on a sign at the front of the playground, while everyone’s donation will be noted on the Fort Wayne Parks’ website. For details about the Boundless Playground and ways to donate online to the campaign, visit www.fortwayneparks.org or call 260-427-6000. Checks made payable to the Fort Wayne Park Foundation may be sent to 705 E. State Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46805. More information about the Boundless Playground efforts can be found at www.taylorsdream.com.