Davenport leaders swing $85k towards inclusive playground at Vander Veer Park

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A Davenport grandmother is celebrating a big win for a special cause. 

Local 4 News first brought you Gloria Cypret’s journey back in 2015. 

That’s shortly after she began fundraising for an all inclusive playground in Davenport. 

The project was inspired by her grandson, Gabe, who is disabled. 

We checked in with her in March, when she was holding a fundraiser. 

Now, city council is allocating thousands of capital improvement funds for the new playground and the location couldn’t be more perfect.

“He thinks Vander Veer is his park because we’ll say ‘We’re going to go to Gabe’s park, and he says, ‘Go to Gabe’s park,'” says Cypret.

“But see, he can’t access it,” she adds. 

That’s how the idea for Gabe’s All Inclusive Play Village began in five years ago. 

His grandmother, Gloria Cypret, has been on the journey ever since. 

“I had never spearheaded a project like this,” she says.

“It was probably good idea that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.” 

Now, $85,000 is coming their way to build that playground. 

The money was already budgeted for the current playground, which has been due for an upgrade since the 1990s. 

The city has found the perfect partner to take on the project. 

A lot has changed since 2013; Cypret has seen a change in leadership at the mayoral, aldermanic and department level, and Gabe has become a teenager. 

But Alderman Ray Ambrose, has watched Cypret’s efforts grow since the beginning.  

“She’s worked incredibly hard over five years to find the funding to make it happen,” says Ambrose. 

Cypret says the project is possible because of every penny from every neighbor, including the small ones from a Sunday school group at Risen Christ Lutheran Church in Davenport.

“They sent us a check for $198.75. Now, I cried when I opened that one up because it just seems like, I  know $85,000 is a lot of money and we’re so appreciative but these kids, you know it was their allowance, you know it was their lunch money, you know it was some chore that they did,” says Cypret.  

Now, not only will Gabe have access to “Gabe’s park,” but so will nearly 5,000 others across the Quad Cities. 

“If you meet these kids and meet their parents and listen to their struggles,” says Cypret with tears in her eyes, “It just  makes you stronger… We’re going to do this, we’re going to do this… We have to do it,” she says. 

Cypret says that they are on track to break ground on the new playground at Vander Veer Park in the spring.

This current playground will be revamped and doubled in size. 

To learn more and contribute to the cause, click here

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