The team at County Parks and supporters of local nonprofit Jacks Helping Hand are more excited than ever about the progress made in 2016 on the Jack Ready Imagination Park, the first universally accessible park for physically challenged children in San Luis Obispo County.
In 2016, the County made considerable progress on the basic infrastructure of the park by completing the concrete sidewalks, asphalt entrance access, parking lots, curbs and gutters.
Once completed, the park will be a place that will allow children with disabilities to play with their peers while also providing a fun and relaxing experience for the entire family. The park will include an accessible playground, a therapeutic riding facility, sports courts, playing fields, accessible hiking trails as well as picnic areas.
The goal is to ensure that all children have a safe and beautiful place to play and thrive outside in the sunshine.
The park is named after the late Jack Ready, a young SLO County boy who succumbed to brain cancer in 2004. Two years later, his parents Paul and Bridget Ready formed Jack’s Helping Hand, Inc., a designated 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation, to help disabled children and their families. Through the nonprofit, the couple has opened three toy lending libraries in San Luis Obispo County, sponsored support groups, and initiated special classes for disabled children. In addition, Jack’s Helping Hand has partnered with the County to construct Jack Ready Imagination Park.
A Work in Progress
In 2005, an undeveloped 30-acre parcel of land in Nipomo was donated to the County by Nicholas and Kathleen Tompkins to establish a park in memory of their nephew, Jack Ready.
Since that time, the park has been a work in progress and one of Jack’s Helping Hand supporters’ fondest dreams.
In 2010, Jack’s Helping Hand supporters created a site plan, complete with buildings, landscaping, a playground, and an equestrian center.
In 2012, the County Board of Supervisors committed $500,000 of County Park Public Facility Fee funds and Quimby Fee funds to develop the park, which adds to the existing and future private contributions and grant funds designated for the park. At the end of 2016, Jack’s Helping Hand had secured nearly $1 million in private contributions and in kind donations to construct the park.
In 2014, Jack’s Helping Hand held a groundbreaking ceremony that was attended by board members, elected officials and other supporters. Since then, the park land has been graded and water well and systems have been installed. A multi-user public restroom, the first vertical park improvement, was delivered onsite on October 2015.
In 2016, as mentioned above, concrete sidewalks, asphalt entrance access, parking lots, curbs and gutters were completed, giving the park the necessary infrastructure for future recreational features.
Jack’s Helping Hand has received generous community support both in addressing needs of children and families, and in constructing the Jack Ready Imagination Park.
The next step is to construct the playground area and the equestrian center. The momentum is expected to keep going with park improvements that the entire community will soon be able to enjoy this one-of-a-kind park in SLO County.
Upon its completion the park will be maintained at no cost to the County. Jack’s Helping Hand will provide all of operating, maintenance, administrative and programming services for the park.