The facility at Community Park in Morgan Hill will accommodate all children

Photo by Robert Airoldi — From left, Pamala Meador and Peggy Martin with the MHCF; Ron Locicero; Chris Ghione, city of Morgan Hill public services director; Shirlee Locicero; and Nick Gaich, with the MHCF, which help raise nearly $73,000.

By Kaylee Arca

On the rainy day tour in March, Ron and Shirlee Locicero watched a construction crew use bulldozers to prepare soil for the Magical Bridge Inclusive Playground. The Morgan Hill couple stood with a group of residents and city staff admiring how far their dream had progressed since they proposed the idea to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission in 2014.

After the construction is completed soon, the Morgan Hill couple look forward to welcoming families to the playground. The journey will be well worth the wait as it will enhance the quality of life for many residents and visitors to the playground, they said.

Located in the heart of Community Park, the $6.1-million specialized playground is intended for people of all physical and mental abilities as well as age groups from toddlers to senior citizens.

The park will have different areas providing special equipment for all abilities, including a musical area with a laser harp, a sandbox for children to have tactile experiences, a water fun area, spinning zone, toddler area, special slides and swings.

The Lociceros were inspired to create the inclusive play area seven years ago after watching a TV news story about the grand opening of Tatum’s Garden, an inclusive playground in Salinas. As retired educators, they were inspired to create a similar playground where all South Valley children could find outdoor fun together.

“I think this will be a destination park,” Ron said.

He expects the playground to attract visitors from throughout the county and other locations. Visitors who come from other cities will also be encouraged to enjoy the rest of South Valley, thus promoting tourism.

For his efforts to bring the inclusive playground, Ron received the 2020 Man of the Year honor from the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce.

The goal of the park is to create community, the Lociceros said.

“I just can’t wait to see the kids play in the park. I can’t wait to see the excitement,” Shirlee said.

The Lociceros want all children to feel included and be able to play together in a family-friendly environment. They worked closely with city staff to hire professional designers and engineers during the early stages of the project.

The playground received creative input from Peter Jensen, lead designer at Magical Bridge Foundation, to create a wonderful playground for the community.

The couple also visited local elementary schools to chat with the students abou