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‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart’: Julia’s Junction opens in West Kelowna

The playground is an accessible and inclusive space for children of all abilities
Melissa Grassmick presents Julia’s Junction, and inclusive playground for children of all abilities, during a grand opening ceremony at Westbank Centre Park in West Kelowna on July 31, 2023. (Gary Barnes/Capital News)

With an enthusiastic ‘we did it’, Melissa Grassmick opened Julia’s Junction in West Kelowna on Monday (July 31).

The playground, located at Westbank Centre Park, is an accessible and inclusive space for children of all abilities.

“Most of you know that I began this journey with my daughter Julia as my inspiration,” an emotional Grassmick told the cheering crowd gathered for event. “Not only were there no accessible parks for her to visit, I soon realized there were many other kids who struggled to find a park to play at. Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart.”

Julia suffered a spinal cord injury caused by a blood clot at 17 months old.

The Grassmick family raised the majority of the funds for the $900,000 project. The City of West Kelowna contributed $200,000 and the park space and the federal government provided $120,000.

Other contributions came from sponsors and community donations.

“From the smallest in-kind contribution to the largest donor, who made it possible for so many kids to play here for years to come,” said Mayor Gord Milsom.

Grassmick also thanked all those who supported and donated to Julia’s Junction, as well as the PURKIDS Charitable Foundation which secured a $100,000 grant for the project.

In turn, PURKIDS CEO April Marten thanked the Grassmick’s for their tireless efforts.

“Thank you for sharing your story, for allowing us to learn from your experiences and for inviting us to work with you to bring this dream to life.”

Play structures and equipment at Julia’s Junction are installed at ground level to avoid using ramps so that all children have access and can play together.

Julia’s Junction is located in Westbank Centre Park at 2569 May Street in West Kelowna.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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