OC Register May 22, 2014 by Fred Swegles
City leaders hire contractor to build the $439,579 structure as the final touch to Courtney’s SandCastle.
San Clemente’s Courtney Smith was 4 years old in 2001 when adults in her life set out to find a way to build south Orange County’s first universal-access playground in her name.
On Tuesday night, the now-17-year-old, who has spinal muscular atrophy, was all smiles as San Clemente’s elected leaders hired a contractor to build a $439,579 sensory garden as the final touch to Courtney’s SandCastle, a playground that opened in 2012 at Vista Hermosa Sports Park.
“This has been a very long journey for all of us,” Smith said.
The City Council accepted a $50,000 donation from the Courtney’s SandCastle Charitable Foundation to help close a $113,000 funding gap. Taylor Morrison, new owner of San Clemente’s Marblehead Coastal residential development, donated $70,000 to close the gap completely, the city said.
Earlier, the foundation raised $340,000 toward the sensory garden, which will include a path, shade structure, tidal pool, interactive granite water sphere and music panels.