Lucas Fritsche, the mind behind the Lucas and Friends Backyard Adventures Playground, jokes that he has spent “half his life” working on the project.
The playground took the next step to its next phase during the Board of Alderman meeting on November 7.
Lucas’ mother Jennifer Fritsche spoke to the board about the project being awarded a matching land and water conservation grant.
“After many years of fundraising, amazing community support, and an incredible committee that has been part of this project from DAY 1 we will see the entire vision built and enjoyed for years to come,” The committee of the Lucas and Friends Playground committee posted on social media.
The second phase will include a zipline, play panels, climbers, swings and more.
“With this funding we are able to start phase 2 ordering and building soon,” Fritsche said. “We are excited to be able to finally finish the full project.”
Fritsche said that if there is also a plan to build a pavilion so that parents and kids can have some shade while at the playgrounds, through several larger donations.
The playground project was Lucas’ idea. When Fritsche was in third grade, he noticed that his friend with disabilities could only play on the swings.
Wanting to give his friend and others with disabilities the same opportunity to play that he has, Fritsche got to work on the idea for an all-inclusive playground.
He presented his ideas at his school and spoke with the city on making this dream come true. The project has been a partnership between the Fritsches, Perry County, and the city of Perryville, as well as countless local businesses and volunteers.
Lucas’ mother, Jennifer Fritsche, and a group of volunteers put together a plan to construct phase one of the playground on the west side of French Lane, south of the Perryville Splash Pad, with the help of Unlimited Play Playgrounds. The first phase was opened October 2021. Phase 1 included a huge ramping structure, tree house and musical equipment. The project took $500,000 to complete through donations and various fundraising efforts.