Rotary International was founded on February 23, 1905, in Chicago, Illinois. Nearly a century later, the organization challenged clubs around the world to develop projects to celebrate Rotary’s centennial year.
Centennial projects needed to:
- Fulfill a clearly identifiable community need
- Provide a solution with measurable results
- Involve active participation by Rotarians
- Create a permanent sign, plaque or inscription at the project site identifying the sponsoring Rotary club
Catalina Rotarians not only accepted the challenge, but chose an ambitious goal: Building an all-accessible playground to provide the only place in the city where able bodied and non-able bodied children could play together. The club named it Milagro Playground. (Milagro is the Spanish word for miracle.)
The club selected a site in Jacob’s Park, a centrally-located area in Tucson’s Ward 3, and forged partnerships with the City of Tucson and Ward 3 to make the project a reality.
The City of Tucson Department of Parks and Recreation committed to maintain the playground after it was finished. Grants from Ward 3 and the Tucson City Council helped fund the project. Additional money was raised through generous donations from Rotarians, foundations, and private donors.
The club also secured in-kind services from landscape architects and a variety of contractors – in addition to sweat equity from Catalina Rotarians.
All in all, the final price tag of the playground totaled $750,000.
The playground was dedicated on October 8, 2005. It continues to provide unrestricted access to play for children of all abilities.