Harper's Playground is about to become a reality

Harper's Playground is about to become a reality
Harper Goldberg (photo courtesy of the Harper's Playground website, used with permission).

PORTLAND, Ore. - A new playground specifically geared towards kids with disabilities is coming to a North Portland park.

A groundbreaking celebration for Harper's Playground - the first in the city's park system to provide disabled access on every play feature - will take place this Friday at Arbor Lodge Park.

The parents of a young girl with a rare condition called Emanuel Syndrome have been working hard to bring this project to fruition. Their daughter, six-year-old Harper Goldberg, loves spending time at Arbor Lodge Park but her mobility is limited, which makes it hard for her to play with the other kids in the playground.

Not wanting their daughter to feel excluded, the Goldberg family spearheaded a non-profit called Harper's Playground to try to make a change. The idea was to put in some playground equipment that allows kids like Harper to play along with everyone else.

The Goldberg's fundraising efforts started small (with bake sales, rummage sales and local neighborhood concerts) and then got much bigger once partners like the Portland Timbers got involved. And now, two years later, all their hard work is about to pay off.

"We can't believe we are so close to seeing our vision come into being," Cody Goldberg, Harper's father, said in a news release. "We are humbled that so many people have invested so much of themselves to make this a reality."

"Just two years ago, dedicated parents Cody and April Goldberg envisioned a playground where their child, Harper, could play alongside other neighborhood kids," Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish said in a news release. "They've shared their compelling vision, generated incredible community support and have developed an innovative park design concept that will serve as a model for park improvements across the country."

The official groundbreaking is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, June 8. City Commissioner Nick Fish, along with a host of others, are scheduled to be there to officially kick off construction on the project.

The groundbreaking will come as a special gift for Harper, who will be celebrating her 7th birthday that day. There is also a celebration planned for that evening featuring the Portland School of Rock.