The Tuolumne County Historic Preservation Review Commission unanimously voted Monday afternoon to endorse a color scheme for an inclusive playground for children of all abilities that will replace an old one next to the Tuolumne Veterans Memorial Hall in Tuolumne.

Commissioners recommended the “nature theme” over the “modern theme” because the colors would blend in better with the surrounding area, which includes a grassy area and a number of trees.

The meeting and decision went by swiftly, something the commission chalked up to a detailed application prepared by Big Dreams Universally Accessible Parks and Playgrounds, a local nonprofit group that raised more than $300,000 over the past five years to fund the project.

“I’m really impressed with the level of detail and amount of energy it takes to get a project like this off the ground,” said Terry Brejla, chairwoman of the commission.

The group was founded in 2012 by parent Sarah Garcia, who also serves as president.

Garcia got the idea for a place where children of all abilities could play together because her daughter had difficulty at the existing playgrounds in the county. She joined forces with several other parents and began holding regular fundraisers.

There is only one other playground in the county with equipment designed to be accessed by children of all abilities, though its located at a school and not open to the general public.

Commissioner David Wynne remarked that the commission is intended to provide recommendations on projects that could impact the historical integrity of old structures.

The commission was tasked with reviewing the plans for the playground because of its proximity to the Tuolumne Veterans Memorial Hall.

Aaron Rasmussen, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4748 in Tuolumne, was in attendance at the meeting Monday but didn’t provide any comments.

Rasmussen and others in his group were initially concerned about the project’s impact on the hall, but he said that the playground’s planner met with them several weeks ago and cleared up the issues.

Now, the county Board of Supervisors will next look at the final plans for the playground and provide any recommendations in the coming weeks. Garcia hopes to get started on construction this spring.

“It’s something that’s so needed in this community,” said Commissioner Jerry Morrow.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.

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