All-inclusive playground in Lake St. Louis to close for renovati - KMOV.com

All-inclusive playground in Lake St. Louis to close for renovations

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Zachary's Playground in Lake St. Louis was one of the first of it's kind. (Credit: Unlimited Play) Zachary's Playground in Lake St. Louis was one of the first of it's kind. (Credit: Unlimited Play)

LAKE ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – For 10 year’s children of all ages, and all abilities have had a place to play in Lake St. Louis. Zachary’s Playground opened as the region’s first all-inclusive playground and now a decade later it is in need of some love.

“It has been so used and loved that the surfacing is really worn out so we have to shut down for a couple months,” said Natalie Mackay, the executive director of Unlimited Play and mom to Zachary.

In 2003, Mackay was simply looking for a way for her son to play just like everyone else.

“It was the one thing I decided I could give back to Zach, he has a disease that makes everything you and I do so easily, really difficult,” she explained.

Zachary suffers from a rare genetic central nervous system disease (Pelizaeus Merzbacher Disease) that confines him to a wheelchair.

So like any determined mother, Mackay created the first all accessible playground that allowed her son to play alongside his friends.

“St. Charles came together to build what became a destination playground for the entire country,” she explained.

They founded Unlimited Play and over the last decade have built 15 playgrounds around the US with four more in the works, including playgrounds in Wentzville and Cottleville.

Zachary’s Playground in Lake St. Louis will undergo renovations and they are fundraising in the hope of adding a new piece of equipment, the “Spin Me,” a merry-go-round type piece that would accessible to children in wheelchairs.

Zachary is now 16, and the park continues to be a way to share his story and his joy with all the children of St. Charles County.

“If you met him, he goes through more than you and I ever do, but he wakes up smiling every day. So the legacy of this [playground], that his laughter created with everyone else that comes here is beautiful,” said his mom.

They will hold a 5K and 10 year anniversary celebration on June 24th to celebrate many more years of play to come.

“I hope it continues to be the most well-loved playground in St. Charles Count,y that people come and visit and more than that, they understand the legacy of what it is. That everyone matters, we just need to create environments where everyone can learn from each other.”

To donate to Zachary’s Playground or help raise funds for the other Unlimited Play playgrounds, you can visit their website,  https://www.unlimitedplay.org/.

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