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MIHI gets grant for playground

November 30, 2000

MIHI gets grant for playground



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


Many Individuals Helping Individuals (MIHI) organization has received a $112,500 grant to build a more accessible playground at the Martin L. "Marty" Snook Park.

MIHI will pick up the grant at a press conference Monday attended by Governor Parris N. Glendening and others.

Also attending is Austin Monro of Williamsport, a child with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease affecting cells in the spinal cord.

Earlier this year the Governor's Office on Individuals with Disabilities and two private groups, Boundless Playgrounds Inc., and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, announced a $1.75 million partnership to improve about 10 playgrounds in Maryland.

The $112,500 includes $75,000 from the program. The other $37,500 comes from donations to MIHI and in-kind work by the Washington County government. The project requires a 50 percent county match for each state dollar.

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MIHI applied for the grant earlier this year.

"That was really a longshot," N. Linn Hendershot, chairman of the Many Individuals Helping Individuals (MIHI) organization, said Thursday.

He does not know what counties Washington County were up against but he is "absolutely delighted" to get the money, he said.

In all, the state gave out 11 grants for a total of $1.7 million,Hendershot said.

"We are always looking to improve accessibility of all our parks in partnership with MIHI," County Administrator Rodney Shoop said Thursday. "This gives us a giant leap forward in accessibility to our parks."

Hendershot announced the grant to the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday.

When he thanked the commissioners for their help, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook replied, "Our thanks should go to you."

The state program's goal is to have an accessible playground within one hour's travel for all children, Hendershot said.

MIHI has donated thousands of dollars in accessible recreational equipment to the county over the last 20 years, said Norman Bassett, a county spokesman.

Too often, disabled children can't go to playgrounds because of the way they are designed, said Hendershot. Grass and mulch around playground equipment make it hard for people in wheelchairs to get close to the equipment.

Most of the grant money will be used for playground equipment and a new rubbery surface, he said. The surface reduces chances of injuries.

The toy company Hasbro is partnering with MIHI to build the equipment.

MIHI is trying to tie together part facilities with the region's historical significance. For example, MIHI would like a fort built that is reminiscent of Fort Frederick and a boat that is similar to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal boat, he said.

Before applying for the grant, MIHI received requested help from 10 Washington County children, he said.

During Janaury of Febraury they will meet with more kids to try to get more input, he said.

The goal is to start construction in March, he said.

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