Hardin County teen seeks to build up all-accessible playground

Rachel Ritchie pushes to build inclusive splash park
Rachel Ritchie pushes to build inclusive splash park(Ken Baker)
Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 3:14 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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VINE GROVE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s not just your average playground. Rachel’s Fun for Everyone Playground is was built from the dream of a high school student to bring all-inclusive ways of play to Hardin County children.

“I see the benefits of play and of inclusion, and I really feel like everyone should have access to that no matter if you have a disability or not,” playground creator Rachel Ritchie said.

The play facility is located in Optimist Park in Vine Grove.

Back in 2017, Ritchie and the community were able to raise $200,000 over five years to finish the project.

The success and access the park is giving to all children is what’s helping her bring an additional splash park into existence.

“We are really trying to hit the ground running and raise the $350,000 dollars before the summer of 2022,” Richie said.

She wants everyone, no matter their ability to be able to have shared experiences, which is why she is looking to build up the playground and add a splash park.

“It’s going to contain a bunch of different variety water equipment,” Ritchie said. “That way everyone, no matter their ability, that they can have fun on and that they can be included in water play and inclusion.”

Right now, the teen has been able to raise around $50,000. To raise the remaining money needed, she’s hosting a couple of community fundraisers to swing new interest.

On Thursday, August 26, Rachel is hosting a brunch at the park in Vine Grove to help raise money for the splash pad.

Then on September 17, area firefighters and police officers will square off in a baseball game, with all proceeds going toward raising money for the splash park.

“If you want to make a difference, and if you want to help in giving children of all abilities access to water play and free water play at that, then help us make it happen,” Ritchie said.

To learn more about Rachel and her mission, click or tap here.

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