Storybook Island receives major grant for inclusive park equipment

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Every year, the Black Hills Area Community Foundation selects a particular project to be the recipient of a generous $50,000 grant to put towards their work.

Storybook Island RailroadThis year, the board in charge of the selection process chose to give the funding to Storybook Island. The money will go towards helping the park keep their mission of being a place where all children can play alive.

In the spring, Storybook Island began working towards a goal of raising funds to install a new piece of equipment that would be inclusive to all children. With the grant from Black Hills Area Community Foundation, they are now able to bring six new pieces.

All of the equipment will be wheelchair accessible, including additional parts that will allow autistic and visually impaired children to enjoy them also.

While the funding is a huge step in helping Storybook Island, Executive Director Jackie Laws has bigger plans in mind.

“Because of the grant from the foundation, and the generous donations in the community, we’re actually able to purchase six additional pieces, so it’s going to be a whole area,” she stated. “Our fundraising efforts are not done for the all-ability. We don’t want it to just be in one area. We have eight-and-a-half acres, so our plan is to incorporate pieces that are all-inclusive throughout the park going forward.”

The community has also played a big part in this project as well. Storybook Island raised around $13,000 from their Adult Fun Night event on September 18. Even more recent was one donor’s incredibly kind gesture of providing Laws with the funds to help bring a wheelchair-accessible train car to the park, one of the many items on their wishlist.

Programs Manager for the Black Hills Area Community Foundation Carrie Robley is excited at the prospective future of the park.

“Even though there are a lot of accessible places in the Black Hills, a lot of kids can only get to the equipment, not actually play on it,” she explains. “And when you look at the array of different abilities and disabilities out there, it’s so great that Jackie and Storybook Island have really looked at how can we help all kids.”

To see the wish list and learn about helping to keep the park open, check out www.storybookisland.org/get-involved

Storybook Island is aiming to have their new equipment ready by Summer 2022.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News