Inclusive playground project is years in the making

Gilroy Life file photo
Ron and Shirlee Locicero in front of the sign at Morgan Hill Community Park where the Magical Bridge Playground will be built.


By Staff Report

The long journey to building an “inclusive playground” for South Valley families will reach a major milestone with a virtual groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. June 19.

The Magical Bridge Playground will start construction this summer in Morgan Hill’s Community Park and is expected to be completed next summer.  It will be the first inclusive playground in the stretch between San Jose and Salinas, a point of pride for the Morgan Hill community and the many volunteers who participated in the project including several from Gilroy.

For several years, Ron and Shirlee Locicero have worked with the Palo Alto-based nonprofit Magical Bridges, the city of Morgan Hill and a team of volunteers to create the playground,  which is designed with equipment that can be used by children with special needs both physical and mental. Through their efforts, $5.3 million was raised to fund the project. Contractor CRW Construction won the bid to build the playground.

“Shirlee and I are thrilled,” Ron said of hearing that work can now begin. “We waited many, many years to have groundbreaking and we had quite a few delays through no fault of anybody. It was just the way it worked. We’re anxious to see the park open next summer.”

Families are expected to come from Gilroy, San Martin, Hollister, southern San Jose and elsewhere, with as many as 20,000 visitors a year anticipated, he said.

Even though it be done on the Zoom video-conference platform for social distancing purposes because of COVID-19, it will be a special moment for the South Valley, Ron said.

“Finally, the dream becomes a reality,” he said. “Up until the time they start throwing the dirt around, it’s still subject to being not finished. Something could come up to stop it just like we lost three or four months here because of the virus. Now everything is signed, sealed and delivered.”

To access the Zoom meeting, use the following link: https://bit.ly/MagicalBridgePlaygroundGroundbreaking or call (669) 900-9128 and enter webinar ID: 818 1011 9393.