The Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Foundation celebrated the Phase One grand opening of a all-inclusive playground inside Sokol Park Wednesday afternoon. The brand new playground is set to open to the public on Thursday.

(Noah Lueker, Townsquare Media)

The PARA Foundation, with the help of Nick’s Kids Foundation, the City of Tuscaloosa, the City of Northport, the Tuscaloosa County Commission, and the Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority, as well as individuals, families and businesses have raised a total of $1.9 million in cash for the ongoing project. $4 million has been raised in total pledges and donations are still being accepted.

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The all-inclusive playground will allow people of all ages and abilities to play together and its design incorporates many of the historical and iconic components of the Tuscaloosa area.

“This is the most exciting thing that has happened in Tuscaloosa County in quite a while, and everyone want to be a part of it,” said Tripp Powell, the chairman of the PARA Foundation. “We are appreciative of all gifts and support in making this quality-of-life playground a reality for our residents.”

Many Tuscaloosa celebrities attended the grand opening Wednesday to show their support for the project. Familiar faces included Mayor Walt Maddox, Probate Judge Rob Robertson, Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon, and the first lady of Alabama Football herself, Terry Saban.

“I simply would like to say how grateful we are to be a part of this wonderful, exciting project,” Saban said. “It started as a dream, and during a very difficult time, a pandemic, a time when you could hardly go to the store to buy toilet paper, this was built.”

Saban said the second phase of the project is only a couple small donations away from beginning. She urged the community to donate what they can to help this worthy cause.

“Soon, children of all abilities will be able to come here on a beautiful day like today and be able to play in a safe environment,” Saban said.

The park is located in Sokol Park at 5901 Watermelon Road.

For more information on the playground and the PARA Foundation, go to tcpara.org/donate.

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