Tuscaloosa County's PARA Foundation hosted an "Eats and Treats Social" Thursday evening to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Tuscaloosa's all-inclusive playground, where they received a $10,000 donation from a local nonprofit to partially fund expansions at the site.

The funds will be used to begin the second of three phases of additions that Mason's Place Park, located at PARA's Sokol Park in Northport, will undergo.

The next step, called the "Woodland Phase," will include a bigger playground structure, additional slides, a pavilion and a "wheelchair world." The project is expected to cost $1.3 million.

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Caroline Lasseter, the director of development for the PARA Foundation, said she hopes these funds will be secured before the end of the year so construction can begin in Spring 2023.

Hank Poore, along with his mother, Kathy, both sit on the board of directors of the Hank Poore Foundation, and presented PARA with the check. Kathy said the foundation is thrilled to be able to assist with funding to "allow kids of all abilities to play together. We really didn't have that when Hank was growing up."

(Brittany Marshall|Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Brittany Marshall|Tuscaloosa Thread)

Created in honor of Hank, who has cerebral palsy, the foundation's mission is "to provide opportunities and experiences for people with disabilities."

Hank Poore, using a computerized message translator, said "I've grown up with a disability and I know how it feels like to be included in the community and I feel like it's really important they should be included."

The entire project will cost $4 million and will be the largest park of its kind in the state once completed. Twenty percent of the fund will be put into an account to be used for maintenance at the park.

Food and drinks were available for purchase from BAMA Snow and Yellowhammer Concessions. The proceeds from the sales Thursday night will aid the ongoing fund. Anyone who would like to donate to the fund should visit www.tcpara.org/donate or contact Lasseter at 205-562-3220, extension 36.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for future updates on this project, as well as other community events happening in and around the Druid City.

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