John Sullivan, a former president of the Brandon '86 Rotary Club, and now a member of the Rotary Club of FishHawk-Riverview, who spearheaded the push for a water feature at Rotary's All Persons Playground at Clayton Park in Brandon, accepted on behalf of the effort a $2,500 check from his current club, which he said provides "the last piece of the puzzle that will last a long time."
That "piece" involves the funds necessary for water and electric hook-ups. There was money to build the water feature, but not to turn on the power or the water, said Sullivan, in a video shot at the Nov. 26 meeting of the FishHawk-Riverview Rotary club at Beef 'O' Brady's on Bell Shoals Road in Valrico.
"As long as we could dig the hole and have the spouts, but no water or power to run them, we were fine," he said.
"So, this actually makes the thing run," he added, accepting on behalf of the effort a large-sized replica of the club's $2,500 check donation.
- See Video: Check for All Persons Playground Water Feature Presented at Rotary Meeting
Sullivan said the water feature is set to break ground soon, with an opening anticipated by the start of the summer.
Christopher Jones, president of the FishHawk-Riverview Rotary club, said the money donated was raised at the club's Crawfish Festival at FishHawk Ranch in May.
All Persons Playground at Clayton Park is a crowning achievement of Rotarians throughout the greater Brandon area, and especially so the Brandon '86 Rotary club, under whose auspices the effort got under way.
- A history of Rotary's All Persons Playground at Clayton Park is noted on the Brandon '86 Rotary Club's Web site.
According to Sullivan, the push for a playground where children with physical disabilities could play alongside able-bodied children began in 1996 or 1997. The public-private venture, he added, fell under the auspices of three directors of the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department.
At the start, Ed Radice championed the cause, which was taken up again in earnest by the current parks director, Mark Thornton, Sullivan said.
A water feature for the playground, which was built in 2001, was in the works from that time, Sullivan said. The playground was built with money raised by Rotarians, community members and with a state grant, he added. County money is used to maintain the playground.
In all, Sullivan said, about $100,000 has been raised to build the water feature and to maintain it for five years.
Rotary's All Persons Playground at Clayton Park is at 800 S. Parsons Ave., adjacent to the Little League ballfields, across the street from All Children's Outpatient Care Brandon, and south of the Sandy Rodriguez Center on Vonderburg Drive, home of the Brandon Regional Library and the Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association.