Group attempts world record to raise funds for special needs playground

Group attempts world record to raise funds for special needs playground

ROCKY RIVER, OH (WOIO) - Representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records will be flying into Cleveland Friday night. They're heading to a special event Saturday outside Rocky River City Hall.

Hundreds of people in that community are trying to break the world record for largest finger painting. It's an effort to raise awareness and money for Elle's Enchanted Forest, a playground for kids and adults with special needs.

Elle was born with a rare chromosome disorder.  She just turned two, so Saturday's event is also a birthday party for her.  Everyone is invited to help break the world record, and help raise awareness for this project.

"You can't wait for this playground to be built right," says Ann Butler to her daughter Elle.

Two-year-old Elle loves to swing with her big sister Nikita.  Butler has a plan for it to happen more often, and with more ease.

"We're going to have a multi-user swing, where parent can swing with child and toddler at the same time."

For the past year,  Butler has made it her mission to build Elle's Enchanted Forest, a playground where kids of all ages and abilities can play together.

"Until this happens to you, you don't realize how important it is," says Butler.

Elle was born with a large deletion of chromosome number four. It's the only known case in the world. Doctors don't know what the future holds.

"They told us at three weeks, she may never walk or talk and we're like, yes she will."

Butler has the same determination for this project. And it's contagious. Hundreds of supporters came out this past week to put their mark on it, literally. They're creating the world's largest finger painting to raise awareness and money for Elle's Enchanted Forest.

The total for the project is $1.5 million, but $500,000 will be enough to get started. Butler says they've raised $100,000 so far.

The city of Rocky River donated the land. Designer Greg Beck, owner of PlayPark Solutions in Avon Lake, describes how the space will be transformed.

"We've brought in merry-go-rounds that are ground level so they're wheel chair accessible."

Some of the equipment is also designed with sensory components for children on the autism spectrum.

"We created a slide where a child can access it from their wheelchair, get themselves to the top, and then bring themselves back down to their wheelchair," adds Beck.

Elle's Enchanted Forest will also be the first 'smart' playground in Ohio. An app by Biba creates courses, look and find games, that will help parents and kids interact.

"It really is going to encourage adults and children with abilities and disabilities to be able to play together," says Ann.

She adds that this playground will be an outlet for parents as well: "to be able to meet other parents in a happy setting, instead of in a hospital, waiting for a doctor."

As for the world record for largest finger painting, it currently stands at 250 square meters. The sheet of paper in Rocky River is 300 square meters, the same length as 17.5 school busses.

If it rains Saturday, the event will be held at Force Sports on Center Ridge Road in Rocky River.

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