One of the only handicap-accessible playgrounds in Rhode Island will be officially unveiled in a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Saturday.
The Jaxon Marocco Memorial playground, located at the John Chafee Sports and Recreation Complex on Hope Road in western Cranston, has been completed in memory of Jaxon Marocco, the late son of Mark and Tori.
Jaxon passed away in July of 2016 at just 22 months old from Niemann-Pick disease, a rare genetic disorder. His parents decided to build this playground in his honor a few months ago and the plan has now come to fruition.
One reason for building this playground in Cranston was because there aren’t many handicap-accessible playgrounds in the area, and the Maroccos wanted other families to be able to bring their children there to use the handicap-accessible swing-set and the paved path for wheel chairs that goes through the playground.
“We used to want to do that [bring Jaxon to handicap-accessible playgrounds] but we couldn’t find one near us,” Tori Marocco said. “There’s one in Warwick we could use but it was very far from our house.”
The funding and support for the playground was immense, according to the Maroccos. They sold memorial bricks from $250 up to $1,000 (or whatever people could donate) that are now set up in front of the playground with people, businesses, and local sports organizations’ names on them.
Another donation of $25,000 was made by a family member.
Most of the money donated in Jaxon’s honor went to the cost of building the playground, with the remaining funds in an account that will be used to donate money to other families affected by the disease, according to the Maroccos.
The playground was designed by Mark and Tori, along with help from Cranston parks & recreation director Tony Liberatore and the playground equipment company BigToys. Liberatore was especially helpful in choosing the location for the playground, which is next to the Cranston West Little League baseball field at the John Chafee Complex, and helping oversee the project.
“It’s in a great spot so that a lot of kids will see it,” Tori Marocco said. “Brothers and sisters at games there can use it too.”
Because of the outpouring of support and donations, the playground features a brand new jungle gym, swirling slide, benches, a paved path through the mulch, and of course the handicap-accessible swing-set.
The ribbon cutting is set for Saturday, November 11, and will be attended by Mayor Allan Fung, who has a brick with his name on it. Henceforth, kids around Cranston, and elsewhere, will be able to enjoy the fun of a brand new playground in Jaxon Marocco’s honor.