Mother and daughter turn love of gardening into fundraising effort for inclusive playground

BRUNSWICK, Ohio (WJW)– For Mikayla Dwulat, 5, of Brunswick, playtime in her backyard doubling as a crash course in learning how to grow her favorite vegetables.

“Her and I just started tag-teaming it and we’ve had a new love for gardening,” said Amanda Burke, Mikayla’s mom.

But instead of keeping them all to themselves, this mother-daughter duo will soon be selling everything from tomatoes to zucchini; pitching in to raise money for a special needs inclusive playground project at Brunswick’s Neura Park.

City manager Carl DeForest said a Brunswick City Schools special education teacher pitched the idea to the city last year. In May, city council approving a resolution to set aside $175,000 in city parks capital improvement funds.

Donations and a special grant would pay the balance of the $300,000 project.

“It’s a dollar-for-dollar match so we could get anywhere from $1 up to $175,000. And if we get 175, we put our 175 with it and will just have enough to pull the project off,” DeForest said.

From a sensory-rich environment to cozy spaces, this proposed state-of-the-art playground will go beyond wheelchair accessibility.

“Families want to bring their kids out and have opportunities to play with their siblings or with the neighborhood kids, and it gives kids a chance to play just like everybody else does,” said park visitor Kris Froehlich.

Burke said their veggies should be ready for sale by July.

“Purchase the veggies or donate. Whatever they’d like to do,” she said.

If all goes as planned, the new playground could be ready by summer of 2022.