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Fundraisers for Awesome playground will lead to design unveiling

Tommy Loredo reads to his mother, Rachel Loredo, and sister Annalise at the Salida library March 3, 2016. Tommy was born with arthrogryposis, or contractures that limit his joint movement, and uses a wheelchair. Rachel Loredo is spearheading an effort to bring to Modesto what’s called an inclusive playground, on which disabled and nondisabled children can play side by side.
Tommy Loredo reads to his mother, Rachel Loredo, and sister Annalise at the Salida library March 3, 2016. Tommy was born with arthrogryposis, or contractures that limit his joint movement, and uses a wheelchair. Rachel Loredo is spearheading an effort to bring to Modesto what’s called an inclusive playground, on which disabled and nondisabled children can play side by side. Modesto Bee file

It takes time and money to get awesome.

The unveiling of the design for The Awesome Spot inclusive playground planned for Beyer Community Park in north Modesto will come a bit later than originally planned. But in the meantime, two fundraisers for the nearly 2-acre playground will be held Saturday in Salida and Oct. 28 in Modesto.

Rachel Loredo, the Modesto-area mom who brought the playground idea to the city and is helping spearhead the project, once had hoped to unveil the design and launch fundraising in early September.

Now, between city staff, local landscape architect Chad Kennedy and the Southern California-based nonprofit organization Shane’s Inspiration, they’re closing in on a “beautiful” design, Loredo said. The plan is to unveil it Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at The Century event venue, 927 10th St.

At that time, she also hopes to have sponsorship packets available. She, Kennedy and city staffers have said they expect a range of opportunities will be available – perhaps engraved fence slats, and plaques acknowledging sponsors of benches or play structures.

In November and December, Loredo plans to have one-on-one meetings with prospective donors to lay out the opportunities.

“My goal was to have a year of fundraising,” she said, so she anticipates the playground could open in spring 2018.

An inclusive playground is one where children with disabilities can play side by side with able-bodied peers, and disabled parents can join their kids. Its surfaces are wheelchair-accessible (no sand, or drop-offs), as are some pieces of equipment. A sliding board would hug a gentle hillside so that if a child loses his or her balance, there’s no fall off the side.

On Oct. 22, a Bands, Bikes & BBQ fundraiser will be held from noon to 8 p.m. at Full Throttle Motorcycle & Gun Shop, 5528 Pirrone Road, which is owned by Loredo and her husband, Tommy.

“It’s a family-friendly event, with activities for children, bounce houses, face painting, activities like a motorcycle stunt show, live music, vendors,” Rachel Loredo said. Divine Swine is providing the barbecue, and there will be a beer garden. Admission is free.

There will be an Awesome Spot tent at the event where anyone can ask questions, get information or make donations.

On Oct. 28, a trunk-or-treat event and classic car show will be held on Tenth Street Plaza from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

“We want to get 60 cars, and we’re prepared to block off 10th between I and K streets,” Loredo said. “So the whole plaza in front of Brenden Theatres is the main area, and then across J on 10th.”

In addition to the trunk-or-treating, in which kids go from car to car to get goodies, “we’re going to have some activities – like Boomers is bringing out some games and Brenden will be bringing out its prize wheel,” she said. “There’s also a volunteer group a friend found on Facebook whose members dress as different characters. And Dutch Hollow Farms is donating mini pumpkins for painting.”

For more information on either event, or to register to enter the classic-car show, contact Loredo at www.theawesomespotplayground.com/contact-us.html.

Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327

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