FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Jill Asher
Magical Bridge Foundation
jill@magicalbridge.org

Educators Mobilize to Bring a Fourth Inclusive Playground to Life: Announcing Magical Bridge Playground in Morgan Hill

Morgan Hill, CA  August 1, 2017 — Two former teachers with a combined 70 years of experience in serving children made it their mission to bring an inclusive play space to their community. Today, Shirlee and Ron Locicero’s dream has come to life with the announcement that a fourth Magical Bridge Playground being built in Morgan Hill, California.

Morgan Hill City Council unanimously approved a Magical Bridge Playground in Community Park, committing to obtain $2 million in funding for the playground. The City of Morgan Hill will partner with Magical Bridge Foundation this fall to apply for a Santa Clara County Matching Grant for an additional $2 million. Community Park rests in the heart of Morgan Hill and welcomes its 33,000 residents, neighbors from across the region, and 250,000 annual visitors of all ages. It will be the first inclusive playground in the stretch between San Jose and Salinas, a point of pride for the City Council, the Morgan Hill Community Foundation, and many volunteers, like the Lociceros.

The City Council vote exemplifies a local commitment to inclusion and innovation. The tears that ran down Ron Locicero’s cheek also reveal the dedication and passion that drives each Magical Bridge Playground.

“The first time I met Shirlee and Ron Locicero was in 2015 at the grand opening of Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto,” Magical Bridge’s co-founder Olenka Villarreal recalled. “It had taken us seven long years of fundraising and work to open that original playground, and hundreds of excited friends, family, and supporters poured into this new and magical space. Among them were the Lociceros, two retired and beloved school teachers who came to celebrate with us and determined to bring a park like ours to Morgan Hill. Their commitment was inspiring and now we are thrilled to make magic happen together,” Magical Bridge co-founder Olenka Villarreal recalled.

The Magical Bridge Playground in Morgan Hill will be home to swinging, spinning and other play zones, expertly designed for people of all cognitive and physical abilities, including Retreat Cocoons for autistic children, accessibility for wheelchairs and welcoming for older adults who may otherwise be isolated from outdoor communities. Alongside Community Park’s 24 acres of trails, fields, skate park, and public art where residents already gather, the playground will serve the more than 2,000 local school children with special needs as well as their friends, family and the new acquaintances they’ll meet in Magical Bridge’s Kindness Corner or Sliding Mound.

“The partnership with Magical Bridge Foundation provides a tremendous opportunity to bring a truly inclusive playground to Morgan Hill. We’re excited to work with the team at Magical Bridge Foundation, our community members, and our volunteers who’ve worked tirelessly to make this playground a reality,” Mayor Steve Tate said.

Each Magical Bridge Playground is built on innovation, inclusion and enrichment, connecting an expansive body of research on how play and community impact the health of all people, and the benefits for those who have cognitive, visual, hearing, physical, and other challenges. One in every five Americans lives with some form of disability, making it the largest minority group in the country. While the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 made radical cultural shifts, 25 years later our public parks do not adequately accommodate or welcome all people. Magical Bridge is changing that, using nearly a decade of research, insights from inclusion specialists and advocacy from engaged organizations, corporations, and school partners to create dynamic spaces that welcome everyone.

“Together with Magical Bridge, we will bring a much-needed inclusive playground to our community. The team at Magical Bridge has been successful in bringing other parks to fruition, and we’re excited to see the same done in our community,” said Chris Ghione, Morgan Hill’s Community Services Director.

The road to Magical Bridge Playground in Morgan Hill will be paved by many over the next year. But the first trail was blazed by Shirlee and Ron Locicero’s lifelong commitment to all children as teachers and volunteers.

“I’ve been working with children all my adult life and I’m excited about doing this playground project in partnership with Magical Bridge Foundation. It’s great for Morgan Hill, it’s great for the Parks and Recreation Department, and it’s great for everybody in our community,” Ron Locicero said.

Visit Magical Bridge Playground in Morgan Hill for information about the playground and ways to support the project. If your company, foundation or community group would like to partner with Magical Bridge Foundation, kindly contact Jill Asher at jill@magicalbridge.org.

About Magical Bridge Foundation

Magical Bridge Playgrounds are heralded as the nation’s most innovative and inclusive play spaces. Magical Bridge Foundation is a 501(c) non-profit organization that advocates for all by creating playgrounds that are accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of ability, disability, size or age. Kindly visit Magical Bridge online at www.magicalbridge.org, or follow @MagicalBridge on Twitter and http://www.facebook.com/MagicalBridge on Facebook.

About the City of Redwood City

The City of Redwood City is a San Francisco Bay Area community located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the technology-rich region extending from the San Francisco Peninsula to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Redwood City is the third largest city within the County of San Mateo, with 82,881 residents. The city enjoys an average of 255 sunny days a year, which it boasts via the city slogan: “Climate Best by Government Test”. Incorporated in 1867, Redwood City is home to the San Mateo County History Museum (located in the county’s old courthouse) and the only active deep water port within the south bay of San Francisco. The city’s vibrant downtown, quickly becoming known as the entertainment hub of the San Francisco Peninsula, offers residents, visitors, and businesses a unique retail, entertainment, and restaurant experience. For more information, visit the City of Redwood City’s website at www.redwoodcity.org, or follow @RedwoodCity on Twitter and http://facebook.com/CityofRedwoodCity.

About the Morgan Hill Community Foundation

The Morgan Hill Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization that connects impassioned donors with local needs for a long-lasting, effective impact in our community.

About Morgan Hill

The City of Morgan Hill is located in South Silicon Valley, just 10 miles south of San Jose. Morgan Hill’s ideal location offers residents and visitors a vibrant downtown, year-round outdoor recreational activities, including cycling, golfing, swimming, and boating. Morgan Hill is a socially responsible, environmentally conscious, and economically sound community that embraces inclusiveness with participation by all.