Hayward To Build Park Inspired By Girl With Cerebral Palsy
HAYWARD (KPIX 5) – You've heard of a field of dreams, but what they're about to build in this park in Hayward has nothing to do with baseball. It's about a girl named Mia.
There's nothing wrong with Tennyson Park, as long as you can walk and run. Ten-year old Mia Vasquez has cerebral palsy and can't do that, but she loves having fun outdoors
In 2016, her dad, Daniel, sketched out on a napkin his design for a new park for Mia.
"We came up with the idea of creating a park that was not only accessible, but ultra-accessible and have it be in our neighborhood," Vasquez told KPIX 5.
It's called "Mia's Dream Come True," and they aren't dreaming small. The play area will be a full acre in size, taking up most of the grass area of the park.
Daniel's idea was to mimic places in Hayward that Mia enjoys, so this airport area will have swings hanging from the wings of full-size airplane.
The firehouse will feature a real fire engine, hollowed out so someone in a wheelchair can roll right up to the steering wheel.
There will be a giant piano similar to what Tom Hanks played in the movie "'Big" and the "Bay Area" will include whales with interactive spouts and a wheelchair accessible fishing boat.
Pam Russo, the director of the Hayward Area Recreation District, admits they got a little caught up in Daniel's enthusiasm.
"We have taken this sketch on a napkin, and with each set of plans the concept grew as did the budgetary end of things."
They've now raised $2.5 million in corporate and public donations and say they need about 1 million more to make Mia's dream a reality.
And when they do, it will not only be a destination park for disabled kids from all over the Bay Area.
Mayor Barbara Halliday thinks it will be a key to revitalizing the entire Tennyson District.
"It's a snowball effect. I think when people get used to really coming back and using this park again for what it's intended to be used for, we're just going to see a renaissance of the whole community," Halliday said.
Daniel said he doesn't know how long they will have Mia. But 10 years ago, she was given one year to live. So he's not afraid to have BIG dreams for his daughter.
"This will be her legacy. This will be a way for Mia to be remembered long after she's gone, you know, hey, Mia helped make that park."
Construction of Mia's Dream Come True will begin in November, and if all goes well it should be in operation by the end of 2019.
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