Two Schools Receive $175,000 in Challenge Grants to Develop and Build Accessible Playgrounds

December 11, 2000
Montgomery County's Longview Special Education Center in Gaithersburg and Lake Seneca Elementary School in Germantown are receiving $175,000 in challenge grants to develop playgrounds through the Maryland Boundless Playgrounds Initiative (MBPI).

They are two of 11 projects in the state benefiting from the initiative, a collaborative effort between the State of Maryland, Boundless Playgrounds' Hasbro National Resource Center, Hadley's Park, Inc., the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and other foundations.

MBPI provides challenge grants of $75,000-$200,000 per project, plus technical, design and support services. This first-in-the-nation initiative is designed to help communities create universally accessible playgrounds where all children - including typically able children and children with physical, sensory and developmental disabilities - can play.

Longview is receiving a $100,000 challenge grant supported by Boundless Playgrounds' Hasbro National Resource Center. A special MCPS school program for students with profound mental retardation and multiple disabilities, Longview serves students ranges from age 5 to 21. Forty students attend the program this school year.

Lake Seneca Elementary School is receiving a $75,000 challenge grant. The PTA will be responsible for raising matching funds of $37,500. This project will receive technical services from Hadley's Park, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Potomac, and will be considered a Hadley's Park project upon completion.

More than 150 people requested information about the program, and 30 formal applications were received from schools, local and county government agencies, communities and nonprofit organizations.

Gov. Parris Glendening announced the recipients of the challenge grants at a December 4 press conference. Delegate Mark Shriver, the legislation's principal sponsor, also spoke at the event, along with children with and without disabilities.

MBPI is funded by a $1,000,000 challenge grant from the State of Maryland, $250,000 from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and more than $500,000 from host communities. For each dollar of the challenge grant awarded, host communities will match at least 50 cents with contributions, grants and sponsorships.

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