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Nadine Gregerson, former Crescent Cove board member, and daughter Riley keep score on Crescent Cove’s new wooden scoreboard. 

After more than two years of development, Crescent Cove Respite and Hospice Home for Kids unveiled its new outdoor play space June 24.

The Brooklyn Center-based nonprofit offers wheelchair-accessible playground equipment for children who are unable or rarely able to play on conventional playground equipment.

Included in the equipment are a custom-built playground dubbed the “Dragonfly tower,” a mini baseball diamond with artificial turf, and outdoor musical instruments, such as metal chimes and glockenspiels.

“Our home opened three years ago in May 2018, and today we celebrate another milestone in our short history, one that will enhance our ability to provide play and engagement to the children and families that we serve,” said Geoff Kaufmann, board chair.

“The team has seamlessly been able to blend nature and honor the land we stand on with opportunity to provide our kids play – play they might not get to experience somewhere else.”

Located on Twin Lakes, the facility is the only children’s respite home in the state, and the third in the country. It provides children with life-threatening conditions and their families a home to utilize for short breaks, as well as end-of-life care in a home environment.

Founder and Executive Director Katie Lindenfelser said that before opening Crescent Cove, she and others involved in the project toured similar facilities in England, where children’s hospice locations number in the hundreds.

At Acorns Hospice in Birminghmam, “we met a little boy named Jack,” she said. Lindenfelser asked Jack what Crescent Cove ought to look like when it was built.

“He replied, ‘Be sure there’s a blue slide in the back garden,’” she said, looking towards the blue slide installed on the playground equipment. “And thanks to all of you, Jack’s declaration came to be, and we are reminded of the visions and dreams coming true for kids in Minnesota right here at Crescent Cove.”

Approximately 80% of children staying at Crescent Cove live in wheelchairs, said Tara Anderson, director of engagement.

“This outdoor play space is meant to be an extension of the joy we feel inside,” she said. “It was critical that any play structure that we put on our property allowed a wheelchair to run up and down and have access to the same excitement that other kids do. … As you can imagine they might not have a lot of other spaces to just roam and be themselves.”

Assisting in the purchase and installation of the equipment were donations from former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway’s Lead the Way Foundation, as well as the Minnesota Twins, the Shingle Creek Watershed District, Rotary Clubs from several cities, and Toro, among other donors.

“It’s the generosity and the commitment from Chad Greenway’s Lead the Way Foundation that was really the impetus to get this project off the ground,” Anderson said.

Funding from the Shingle Creek Watershed assisted with flood mitigation, water drainage and native plantings, according to Anderson.

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