Local school kids have collected a small fortune in small change to help pay for a new playground. A student coin drive at Mountain View Whisman and Los Altos school districts has raised more than $40,000 that will go toward a Magical Bridge playground at Rengstorff Park.
The Magical Bridge playground, slated to be completed in 2020, has generated a lot of excitement because it would be Mountain View's first play structure specifically designed for children with physical and cognitive disabilities. The first such playground opened at Palo Alto's Mitchell Park in 2015, and other nearby cities are looking to build their own.
The playground is expected to cost about $4.5 million to design and build, about half of which is being paid for by the city and county. The remainder is expected to come through fundraising, so local organizers have been trying different strategies to pass around the hat.
The student-led coin drive is one among many efforts to help reach this fundraising goal. Several local tech companies have already made substantial donations. But getting the kids involved in the fundraising process gets them excited about this future playground, said Deborah Getz, a Magical Bridge spokeswoman and Bubb Elementary School parent.
"The coin drive is important because it empowers our kids to personally make an impact," she said. "It's such a tangible goal that they are working towards because they can understand it -- they know that everyone should have a chance to play."
In late May Mountain View Whisman district officials delivered several bags filled with pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to the playground nonprofit. The total haul was $25,000, but organizer said some of that was made through online donations.
The Los Altos School District wrapped up its own coin drive last week, raising $15,000.
More information about the Magicial Bridge Playground and the fundraiser may be found on its website.