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Apr 21, 2010 8:33 PM by Monica Quintero

Jack Ready Park moves forward

A park for physically and mentally challenged kids is one step closer to becoming a reality. The proposed park is located on the Nipomo Mesa at the end of Illinois Way. The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors moved it forward earlier this week. But it's still early in the process.

He was a little boy so full of life. But Jack Ready died of brain cancer in 2004, at the young age of 3. To keep the boy's spirit alive, Paul Ready and his wife Bridget had a vision. Paul Ready, Jack's father, said, "He lives on in the lives of every child in this community we're able to help."

The vision is to turn 30-acres on the Nipomo Mesa into a special park with playground equipment specially made for those children facing challenges. The plan also includes therapeutic horse riding.

Ready said, "Everything has worked out so far. We got a little guy up there looking down on us. We kind of consider him the guardian angel of making sure we get through this process."

The Ready family also founded Jack's Helping Hand. A non-profit to help youngsters with disabilities and illnesses. Jack's Helping Hand offers numerous programs and provides financial assistance to families in need.

Ready said, "The community has been so supportive and none of this would be possible without this community."

The hope is the community support will keep pouring in. Building this field of dreams is estimated to cost around $5 million.

While the park is aimed at children with special needs, organizers want to make sure children who aren't facing challenges feel welcomed. They said interaction benefits both groups of youngsters.

Ready also said he knows how much this is needed. He discovered there are more than 4,000 special needs children enrolled in San Luis Obispo County schools. That's 12-percent of the school population compared to 10-percent statewide.

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