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By Paige Reischl (Eli’s Mom)

In February of 2017, Eli’s physical therapist, Shawn and I sat at a tiny table in Ravenna Brewing, sipped some delicious IPA and wondered out loud why people with disabilities are so excluded from so many parts of our community.

We talked, pondered (tipped our amazing bartenders, of course) and then took that question out of our favorite neighborhood brewery into our community and asked it again. And again. And again. And every time we asked it, it grew a little. And very, very quickly, the question became far too big for just one mom and one physical therapist. Parents and caregivers of kids with disabilities and people living in low-income housing and BIPOC teenagers and LGBTQ+ community members and disabled adults and so many others began asking and answering their versions of the question: What would it take to create a place where everybody belongs?

And you became we, and we grew from two, to many, to an entire community. And a rare and beautiful thing happened. Everyone agreed. We just need a place that we can all access, where we all feel safe, welcome and loved. And Eli’s Park Project became our dream.

Then tragically, in August of 2017, Eli transitioned. We lost our inspiration, our love, our light. But we had each other, we had our dream and we had Ravenna Brewing. The amazing owners and staff opened their hearts and space to the project. They donated, hosted fundraisers for the park, brewed an Inclusion IPA and loved, supported and encouraged us.

So, we all kept going, and for the next six years we built together. We built a team. We built support. We built community and connection. We built partnerships and pathways. And, now, so, so soon, we are actually building the park!

We’ll be hanging at Ravenna Brewing on March 19 to celebrate this amazing milestone. More details coming but save the date to join us at our favorite neighborhood brewery where hazy IPAs inspire clear dreams.

Who knows what we’ll build together next? Cheers!

  • Writer's pictureThe Eli's Park Project

We just wanted to reach out with an exciting update on the Eli’s Park Project.

As of November 9, the project is officially out for public bid. It will remain open for four weeks and then our partners will view the bids and vet and hire a contractor following the City of Seattle’s equitable hiring process.

Then, the part we’ve all been working toward and waiting for...

...we build Pathways Park!

We can't wait to have a place in our community where we all belong.

This fall the Eli’s Park Project has two wonderful interns from Seattle University, Tessa Oliver who is on the swim team at Seattle University and Mason Hoover who is on the baseball team at Seattle University. They will be updating our social media and website, so follow along to stay posted on our progress!

Message From Tessa: “I am excited to be part of this amazing project. I think the message of inclusivity and accessibility for all that Eli’s Project promotes is so important.”

Message From Mason: “I’m very excited I get to help work on Eli’s Park Project! I love the meaning behind the project and what's ahead!”

We are still working hard on getting this park built and wanted to reach and say thank you again for all the love and support along the way.

We appreciate you all.

  • Writer's pictureThe Eli's Park Project

In early May we asked for your help. Dozens of you responded with letters, quotes and testimonials of how you and your loved ones plan to use Pathways Park. We are so grateful, so honored and so proud to tell you that it worked!

We are recipients of $850,000 of Dan Thompson Memorial funding!

Not only is this exciting news for our project, but for our entire state. In loving memory of Dan Thompson, a memorial fund was created in 2005. This year, in partnership with our legislature, $55 million has been allocated to different organizations and community groups who directly serve people with developmental disabilities.

Click here to see the full list of recommendations and to learn about the amazing work happening in Washington that will improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

What’s Next for Pathways Park?

This funding brings our total raised to just under $5.8 million! The project is almost ready to go to bid and then we’ll find out how much it will actually cost to build this amazing park. We’re hopeful we’ve raised enough to build it exactly as you’ve dreamed it.

Thank you for being there at every turn of this wild, winding pathway that has led to a park for us all.

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