Serenity Garden aims to serve those with diverse abilities and special needs
ORLANDO, FL, July 11, 2019 /Neptune100/ — Wanted – one billionaire or two or three millionaires or an army of generous individuals who want to make history by helping the disabled.
The Serenity Garden appeal, launched today, hopes a few very wealthy donors will come forward to help fund this unique project at Wekiwa Springs State Park, just outside Orlando, Florida.
The garden, the first of its kind anywhere in the United States, is a “park within a park” and an innovative approach to expanding access to public spaces and enhancing the quality of the outdoor experience for all visitors with diverse abilities and special needs.
The garden, the brainchild of the Wekiva Wilderness Trust, the volunteer, nonprofit group, that supports the work of the State Park, has taken more than two years to design with a team of nationally acclaimed experts.
Working with educational, healthcare, social service and horticultural partners, the therapeutic garden creates a unique multi-sensory experience for people such as fragile seniors, those in wheelchairs, the visually-impaired, veterans with PTSD, people with autism, and those with other chronic conditions and disabilities, as well as their families and caregivers. Visitors, many for the first time, will be able to see, touch, smell and hear nature and interact with it.
“We hope that the garden helping to serve this largely underserved population will become the model for other parks and public spaces both in the U.S. and overseas,” said Trust secretary Don Philpott.
Almost $250,000 has been raised but as the project has grown both in complexity and size (from half an acre to almost one and a half acres), so has the cost. The final cost is expected to be around $1.8 million, which includes multiple mini-gardens, nine-foot wide boardwalks to allow wheelchairs to pass, new restrooms with adult changing facilities, and an endowment to cover ongoing garden maintenance.
The Wekiva Wilderness Trust, is the volunteer, 501c3 organization that supports the work of Wekiwa Springs State Park.