Storm Provides a Great Swing for the City
The best swing in Lake Elsinore next week won’t be from a ball player warming up at The Diamond for the upcoming season. It will however be made with the effort of the Storm, its fans, and the great people in the team’s souvenir store. o timberlands n Tuesday, Feb. 11 with a dedication ceremony at Canyon Hills Community Park, located at 34360 Canyon Hills Road.
“This will be the first handicapped accessible swing in the city of Lake Elsinore,” Donna Grunow, who has managed The Diamond’s popular souvenir store for more than a decade.
As a young mother her kids are now grown living in San Juan Capistrano, Donna remembered a neighbor who had a special needs son.
Donna and her own son would often go to the park with that boy and his mother.
“I remember what that family had to go through every day,” she recalled.
Years later, and after moving to Murrieta and going to work for the Storm, Donna read a newspaper article about local grandparents who took their grandson to Hemet which, at that time, was the location of the region’s only handicapped accessible swing.
In 2011 Grunow, with the support of team officials, began selling $5 grab bags inside the store. The bags were filled with Storm tickets, discount coupons, t shirts and other goodies.
A label on each bag read “All proceeds go toward purchasing a swing for severely handicapped children Thank y timberlands ou for your support.”
Sales were brisk and at the end of the season Grunow thought she had raised enough money to purchase the swing and get it installed.
At first some consideration was given to placing the swing at the stadium’s popular playground area. However, the decision was soon made to opt for a public park.
“We felt more people would use it at a park,” Grunow said adding access to the ballpark is limited. and on weekends when the team is not in town.”
Grunow moved ahead with her plan but soon learned more money would be needed to make her project a reality.
The grab bags were sold again at the store during both the 2012 and 2013 season. Several local merchants got behind the effort to make the value of each bag far more than the $5 timberlands price by adding food and other discount coupons.
The grab bags proved popular once again and now enough money has been raised to pay for not only the swing to be dedicated next week, but plans are in the works to place another swing in an area park.
In recent years other Southwest County communities have moved ahead with playground equipment that is accessible for special needs children.
Murrieta has a handicapped accessible swing at the Cal Oaks Sports Park. JOHN HUNNEMAN
Murrieta has a handicapped accessible swing at the California Oaks Sports Park.
In December the Temecula City Council voted to replace playground equipment at Margarita Community Park. The new equipment is des timberlands igned to accommodate children on the autism spectrum and those with physical or mental health conditions.