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“Let’s Play” At The All-Inclusive Playground Fundraiser For Kellan’s Kingdom

For anyone who has ever met six-year-old Kellan Tigges, the first thing they are apt to notice and comment on is the great big smile on this little boy’s face. According to his mom and dad, Alie and Pat, he is one of the happiest people they have ever known, even though Kellan was born with a condition similar to cerebral palsy.

Kellan is making strides with a special stepping device and a lot of therapeutic activities. But Alie dreams of the day she can pull up to a park with Kellan, her five-year-old daughter, Charlee, and her 15-month-old daughter, Dylan to see kids in walkers, wheelchairs and strollers playing alongside all other kids, regardless of developmental or physical abilities. Pat says they have worked on creating a solution for about the past three years, and are getting ever closer to an all-inclusive play environment in Graham Park, dubbed Kellan’s Kingdom.

On April 24, the Tigges’ presented their idea to the Carroll City Council and were allotted $50,000 of Hotel/Motel tax proceeds to go towards the estimated $100,000 or more project. Alie says the tax proceeds will help cover the cost of the special surfacing material suitable for wheeled equipment. They have also given the Tigges’ permission to place the playground items in one of two areas in Graham Park. The first proposed site is connected to the existing playground equipment. The other is between the shelter house and the tennis courts. Ideally, Alie says, the equipment would be adjacent to the existing playground items so that families can share the space easily without crossing the road. Either way, Pat says, the playground would be a bonus for the community.

Fundraising began with a limited run of Kellan’s Kingdom t-shirt sales and the sale of old-style keys from Carroll Design and Salvage, which are still available. Both of the efforts have seen tremendous community support. These sales, in conjunction with people who have heard of the project making donations, have resulted in $15,000 raised so far. They will be hosting another fundraiser next Thursday, June 15, at Graham Park that will bring the families in the community out to see the proposed sites, renderings of the equipment available and a chance to just get out and play for a good cause from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

T-shirts will again be offered for sale at $10 each the night of the cookout. The Tigges family has also set up a 501(c)(3) foundation with plans to continue to support handicap usable features in Carroll and the surrounding communities in the county far into the future. And hopefully one day, Pat says, park developers will include these features in all new designs, bringing even more reasons to smile to each and every child.
Link to Kellan’s Kingdom Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/416109048748726/

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