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Morgan Hill
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May 11, 2021

Council to accept $72K donation for Magical Bridge playground

Inclusive park project under construction at Community Park

The city council this week will formally accept a donation from the Morgan Hill Community Foundation to help complete the Magical Bridge Playground, an inclusive park designed for people of all ages, sizes and abilities.

The nonprofit Community Foundation led a big push for fundraising for the Morgan Hill Magical Bridge project when the playground was first conceptualized in 2015. Since then, the City of Morgan Hill—the project’s lead sponsor—as well as Santa Clara County and numerous private contributors have raised sufficient funds to build the $6.1-million playground at the city’s Community Park.

Now, Morgan Hill Magical Bridge is under construction and is expected to be complete this summer, according to a press release from city staff.

At the Feb. 17 Morgan Hill City Council meeting, the council is scheduled to accept $72,659.68 raised from 2015 to 2017 by volunteers coordinated by the Community Foundation.

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has participated, at all levels,” said Magical Bridge Foundation Executive Director and Founder Jill Asher. “It’s wonderful that the Community Foundation was able to collect these funds for this project that is going to bring so much joy and happiness to everyone in Morgan Hill.

Asher added that all of the donated funds go toward the construction of the Magical Bridge playground in Morgan Hill.

“We’re thankful to the Morgan Hill Community Foundation for acting as the holding organization for the Magical Bridge Playground in the beginning phase of the project and for their continued partnership,” said Morgan Hill Public Services Director Chris Ghione. “Working with the Morgan Hill Community Foundation allowed volunteers to safely and securely raise funds for the project.”

The Magical Bridge Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 2015 by Palo Alto, dedicated to building all-inclusive parks that are accessible to all residents—including those with disabilities. The organization has designed, fundraised for and built two Magical Bridge parks in the Bay Area, with four more—including the Morgan Hill project—in the works.

Construction of the Morgan Hill Magical Bridge playground has been under construction at the Community Park, just off West Edmundson Avenue, since 2020. The playground is under construction at the site of a previous playground at the park.

Design of the Magical Bridge project includes a variety of slides and swings, some of which are accessible to residents in wheelchairs or who have other mobility challenges. The playground will include a “music zone” for visitors to experiment with installed musical instruments; a “water play zone;” an outdoor classroom; and a “spin zone” play structure area, according to the city’s website.

The Morgan Hill Community Foundation and donors who supported the project will be recognized on the Donor Wall onsite at the local playground, says the city’s press release. These donors include Junior League San Jose, Intero Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Benevity, Kristy Sermersheim, Reed Johnson, Gayla Altoff, Anna and Alex Gervacio, R. Sanchez-Silva, Mission Bell, Ron and Shirley Locicero, and many more.

“Without the support of the community members, local businesses, and grant funders, this project would not be where it is today. We’re excited to be able to open the park this year and to have a space in Morgan Hill that is truly made for everyone,” Ghione said.

A map of the Magical Bridge playground design in Morgan Hill shows some of the amenities the park will feature.

The Feb. 17 meeting, where the council will accept the donation from the Community Foundation, will take place via Zoom video conference, starting at 7pm. Those who want to participate in the virtual meeting may do so by visiting https://bit.ly/MHCityCouncilMeeting; or by calling (669) 900-9128 and entering the webinar ID: 8733200 8380#.

The City of Morgan Hill and Santa Clara County have each dedicated $2 million to the local Magical Bridge project since 2016. But now, times are tight and city staff added that the Covid-19 crisis has impacted the city’s finances. Further community support is needed to ensure the Magical Bridge park is maintained appropriately once it is open, the city’s press release says. For more information on the Morgan Hill project and how to get involved, visit morganhill.ca.gov/magicalbridge.

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