Groundbreaking today for Melaina's Magical Playland

Friday, March 9, 2012

In 2008, Jeff and I had a dream -- to build an inclusive playground where children of all ability levels could play together. We were inspired by our daughter Melaina. She was born with a rare muscle disease and used a wheelchair, so playing at a typical playground was difficult for her. We, along with the assistance of then-state Rep. Scott Lipke, vowed to address this need and began actively seeking help from the community.

It has taken many people working together, but we are pleased to announce that at 11 a.m. today at Cape County Park North there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for Melaina's Magical Playland. Several community and government leaders, including congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, board members and project sponsors will be in attendance for this exciting and long-anticipated event. We would be honored if you would join us.

The board of directors for Melaina Cunningham and Friends Park Fund would like to extend a special thank you to the following major sponsors: Kiefner Brothers Inc., Koehler Engineering, Cape Noon Optimists, Cape Girardeau County, LCIF/MO Lions District 266-M1/Cape Girardeau Noon Lions Club, Procter & Gamble, SoutheastHEALTH, Jackson Jaycee Charitable Foundation, Cape West Rotary, Element 74, the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nip Kelley Equipment Co. and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

In addition, a sincere appreciation is extended to the numerous individuals, businesses, schools and civic organizations who have also contributed through donations and fundraising activities. Your involvement speaks volumes about what this community values, and the project would not be possible without your support.

To date, about $640,000 in donations and pledges has been raised. The project is estimated to cost nearly $785,000. It is believed that this goal can be reached. However, additional sponsors are still needed to help complete the vision.

If you are interested in donating, sponsoring or obtaining additional information about Melaina's Magical Playland, please visit or call 986-9155.

Andrea Cunningham, of Cape Girardeau, along with her husband Jeff helped found an organization to build Melaina's Magical Playland.

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