Tri-Angels Playground

What began as a community-wide project starting in 2013, culminated in an outpouring of generosity to open a playground that honors the lives of each of the girls – Amara, Sophie and Cecilia. There are three sections to this massive play area that are dedicated to each of the three girls. Each section was custom designed as they focus on what each girl enjoyed to do. The entire playground is accessible to children of all abilities as the girls were very aware of and cared for children who couldn’t do the things that they could do.

The Tri-Angels playground is not a typical playground. The 12,000 square ft. inclusive play space is unique because >the design surpass ADA standards as outlined in the American with Disabilities Act.   The spongy surfacing, ramping to every platform, shading, high back swings, metal slides, and ample degree of sensory integrative equipment all remove barriers so children of ALL abilities can play together.   Additionally, parents and grandparents with disabilities and our Veterans wounded while serving in the Armed Forces are able to play alongside their children and grandchildren. The word “inclusive” means all to belong.

The designers, both Cunningham Recreation (based out of Charlotte, NC ) and Themescapes, (based out of Minneapolis, MN) gathered a lot of information about the girl’s hobbies and interests from family members. Custom molds were crafted in order to create pieces such as the shoe slides, microscope, fashion climber, nature climber and more.   Each section has been dedicated to each child and showcases a piece of their art above an entrance.The equipment was manufactured by internationally acclaimed playground vendor, GameTime, and distributed by local provider, Minnesota Wisconsin Playgrounds. Holding it all together was Unlimited Play, whose offered unparalleled support with fundraising efforts.

Play is an essential part of social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of all children and greatly enhances overall community health and wellness.

Tri-Angels Playground is a community based project that attracted donors ranging from children who hosted lemonade stands and sold pieces of artwork outside a grocery store to home grown businesses and multi-million dollar companies. The call to action to create an inclusive play space in honor of Amara, Sophie and Cecilia was answered by over 5,000 people, near and far. A committee of impassioned citizens led by non-profit Unlimited Play, called the Rowing Team, was formed to spread awareness about the project and to raise funds. The fundraising phase was kicked off with an art show of Amara, Sophie, and Cecilia’s beautiful work in August 2013. Original pieces were on display and sold to the highest bidder. Since then many other events took place around town and as far away as Springfield, Illinois.

On June 26, 2015 a warm and sunny day in River Falls, WI, a group of volunteers came out to the playground site for the sole purpose of building one of the largest, most inclusive, and sophisticated designed playgrounds of all times. Pillar Sponsors (defined as donors giving more than $50,000) joined in the day sporting company t-shirts. Both Affinity Plus and Royal Credit Union sent out staff and their families to haul and attach equipment, dig holes, pour concrete, and more. This labor of love was not an easy feat but nevertheless a rewarding one. Other groups were there including band members from the popular band, Cloud Cult.

Earlier in the building process, Total Excavation helped to prepare the site and build a retaining wall. Ross Associates stepped up to pour the concrete donated by Cemstone. Ross and Associates lent a project manager to oversee the in-kind work so graciously donated by the community. Following the build, Earth Works came in with both in-kind materials and labor for the beautification of the flower beds and both Best Built Fence and Valley Custom Welding provided the fence that will help give an extra level of safety.

On August 15th, 2015 over 1000 people gathered at Hoffman Park to watch Jessica cut the ribbon officially opening the Tri Angels Playground. It was a moment worth waiting for as children of ALL abilities ran and rolled through the entrance and played… together.

The Tri Angels Playground has become a destination playground attracting people from the Greater Minnesota area and beyond.
The entire playground project is a testament to a community who came together to create something beautiful out of an event so tragic.

Providing a safe and fun place to play and giving families the opportunity to enjoy being together is what Jessica and her family hoped to provide a community who has given them so much.