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Community Feature – Matapalo Playground

Community Feature – Matapalo Playground

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Matapalo was privileged to receive the donation of a new public playground located in the town’s park north of the soccer field. The grand opening on June 30 was attended by hundreds of local and area residents, families and children. What many may not realize is how much effort was taken by a group of individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations to make this park a reality.

The idea took root over a year ago with Jack Cox, a full-time resident of Southern California, who considers Costa Rica his second home. According to Jack, it all started with daily morning commutes to school when his family was living in Playa Grande in 2014. Jack’s wife, Tamra, nine-year-old son, Cassius, and seven-year-old daughter, Charlotte, had settled there full-time while he flew back and forth every month to tend to his playground business in California.

“Cassius and Charlotte went to school at CRIA, so we drove through Matapalo daily and always saw kids running around having fun playing in the plaza. It seemed to me a playground would be a great addition and would get tons of use.”

When the Coxes found themselves back in the hustle and bustle of California life the following year, Jack took it upon himself to determine how to get a playground built in Matapalo.

“Oftentimes, we replace playgrounds in the States that still have a ton of life left in them,” he explains.

With this in mind, Jack contacted Dan Liesek with Kids Around the World, a non-profit organization that repurposes playgrounds all over the world.

“At that time, I was working with the City of Lakewood to replace its Bolivar Park playground. Dan and I presented the idea of repurposing the existing playground for installation in Matapalo and Valarie Frost with the City of Lakewood was all in.”

Also being President of the Lakewood Rotary Club enabled Valarie to commit $10,000 in Club fundraising money. Jack committed to raise another $10,000, and together they came up with the funds needed to make the Matapalo playground dream a reality.

Next came the challenge of confirming there was a place to put the playground somewhere in the plaza, and that it would be a welcome addition. Jack’s friend Abner Talavera Arias, a resident of Matapalo, put him in touch with Lindsay Lossaso at Futuro Brillante.

“Lindsay and Futuro Brillante were a huge help,” Jack notes. “Not only did they pave the way and get the confirmation we needed, they helped with donations, clearing customs, on-site construction, coordination and much more. This project would not have happened if it weren’t for Futuro Brillante, Kids Around The World and City of Lakewood Rotary Club.“

Lindsay Lossaso, in turn, is grateful for the abundance of local support during the construction process. “It was truly a collaborative effort,” she affirms.

As the main contact on the ground in Costa Rica, Futuro Brillante donated approximately $8,000 in materials, site preparation costs and food for volunteers, and also helped with shipping costs. Lindsay also wants to recognize Reserva Conchal and Garnier (Las Colinas project in Matapalo) for donating both materials and volunteers. Other businesses supplied volunteers to help build the playground, including Las Catalinas, OCC Consultores Comaco, and Pedro Araya. Additional help came from the ADI of Matapalo and ASADA of Matapalo. Finally, Lindsay wishes to thank the many volunteers from the local community who came out to help every day.

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