Gregory's Playground

20 Wilbon Road, Hilton Head, SC 29926

 
 

New – Butterfly-Themed Inclusive Playground by Landscape Structures at the Island Recreation Center in Hilton Head, SC featuring: 

 

Article below on Gregory’s Playground courtesy of the Island Packet details the inspiration behind this AMAZING INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND PROJECT!  

Rose Fotia is a woman, wife and mom with no idle time on her hands. She is a tireless advocate for children on Hilton Head with disabilities, in memory of her son Gregory, who died in 2000 at the age of 12.

Gregory suffered from a rare seizure disorder called West Syndrome that kept him bound to a wheelchair and unable to do anything physically by himself.

Fotia has been working tirelessly for two decades to make sure his legacy endures.

She and her husband, Frank, founded the Children’s Relief Fund in 1991 when Gregory was 3, and have raised millions of dollars to provide the local community with programs, therapy and other enabling instruments to better assist those with disabilities.

When Gregory Fotia was being shuttled regularly between a Charleston hospital and his Hilton Head Island home for medical treatment, his mother stayed at the Ronald McDonald house. Little Greg, who used a wheelchair, loved the playground there.

It had special swings, a paved path and things every child, no matter their disability, could play with.

When his mother, Rose, returned to Hilton Head, she broached the idea of building an accessible playground on the island. The Kiwanis Club and volunteers built Gregory’s Playground at the Island Recreation Center, and money from the Children’s Relief Fund maintained the equipment.

Greg died in October 2000 at age 11, but his legacy of inclusiveness helped thousands of children of all abilities have a place to play.

This year, the playground was closed so modern equipment could be installed. Now, Gregory’s Playground is complete and opened Tuesday, according to a news release from the rec center.

“Every person has a purpose on this Earth and Gregory’s purpose was to make the lives of disabled children in our area better,” the release said.

The $550,000 playground includes swings, slides, a wheelchair-accessible surface and shade pavilions to keep kids cool while they play. It was completed after a two-year renovation of the rec center, which added a new gym, workout facilities and improvements to the pool area.

The playground is behind the Hilton Head Island High School tennis courts and baseball diamond. A two-story net was installed to keep foul balls away from the play area.

In February, the town diverted money from a dirt road paving project to pay for the playground, saying the road wasn’t ready for paving.

The money was part of a community development block grant issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Such grants target projects in low- to moderate-income areas, according to the HUD website, and the grant expires if it’s not used on time.

Now that the playground is complete, Gregory’s legacy continues in a more inclusive world.

Gregory’s Playground, the rec center wrote, will improve “the quality of life for all families by ensuring that all children with or without special needs are able to enjoy a safe and inviting playground.”

Full article here!