Nearly 100 engraved bricks installed at Preston’s Playground earlier this month provide support for the all-inclusive play space – in more ways than one.

Built into a bench, the bricks provide a place for kids to rest in between playing with their peers of all abilities or for parents to sit while their children have fun.

Moreover, the bricks – each one sponsored by an individual or a business – provided financial support to build the playground and a soon-to-be-built handicapped-accessible bathroom.

In total, the brick fundraiser brought in more than $10,000 for the playground, which this month marked its first anniversary, organizer Nic DeCaire said. Donors sponsored bricks for between $100 and $250 each, which allowed them to pick a name or message to be engraved in the brick.

Many of the messages pay tribute to a loved one, while others provide inspirational words, such as “Inclusion is a powerful thing,” “Play creates happy hearts,” and “Laugh much, dream big.”

Named for a teen with mitochondrial disease, Preston’s Playground is meant to allow all children – regardless of disabilities – to play together in a safe, accessible space. Located at the base of the Newark Reservoir, the playground was funded by unprecedented community-wide philanthropic effort that raised more than $500,000.

Construction of the final piece, handicapped-accessible bathrooms, will begin in the spring, DeCaire said.

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