Handicap accessibility focus of fundraising efforts for East Palestine playground

EAST PALESTINE — Local businesses are joining together to raise money to make Rainbow Dreamland in the park handicap accessible.

Ashley McKim, owner of McKim’s Honeyvine and Winery alongside her husband Mike, launched the project in January and since then several other businesses have gotten on board.

The winery does something each year to help out in the community. Last year, it raised funds to cover school lunch debt.

“This year we picked the playground. It is starting to need some help,” Ashley McKim said.

The goal is to begin getting new playground equipment by 2020, for the playground’s 25th anniversary. The playground was created by a group of 2,200 volunteers in 1995 who joined together with donations and manpower.

Ashley McKim said the first thing on the list for the playground is a handicap accessible swing.

“It’s lacking some accessible equipment over there. We are going through the process with the village to get new equipment approved and where it will be placed,” she said.

The donated funds will also go toward mulching and stain and upkeep costs.

“We are trying to bring it to life more,” she said.

The project has already received approval from the park board and donation efforts began in January.

Ashley McKim said so far $549 has been raised through the donation cans located at several participating businesses. Donations have also come in through parents of local school children.

“A lot of the participating businesses were around when it was built so they will be happy to see something happen out there,” she said.

The McKims are working with Tom Buren of Penchura Structures, which is the same company that built the all-inclusive, handicap accessible Walnut Grove playground on state Route 46.

“It is a really nice playground,” Ashley McKim said.

Future public fundraisers are already planned, with a free swim party at the East Palestine Pool scheduled for 8-10 p.m. July 13 and a Christmas Party at the Whispering Pines Castle in Rogers on Dec. 17.

Ashley McKim said there will be no admission cost either events, but those attending can make a donation toward the park project. Popcorn and water for snacks will also be provided at no cost at the pool and wine will be available at the Christmas Party.