WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The imPossible Dream Playground in Warwick was forced to close Thursday after it was targeted by vandals, the non-profit organization announced.
The playground is one of the only places in the area that allows children of all physical and emotional capabilities to play alongside one another.
imPossible Dream Executive Director Diana Penza arrived Thursday morning to find park benches smashed, toys thrown about and damage to the main building.
“You just can’t reconcile why someone would want to damage something like that, want to destroy something like that,” she said. “It makes no sense to me.”
Penza said the staff was able to clean up much of the damage Thursday, and expects the playground will be able to reopen on Saturday.
“I think it just points to how highly regarded our playground is, it’s like sacred ground,” she said. “But we will get it done, and we will reopen, and it will be alright.”
Volunteers will be at the playground Friday to continue the cleanup and test the playground equipment to make sure it’s safe to play on.
Even though much of the damage has been cleaned, the imPossible Dream still needs money for repairs and is reaching out to the public for donations.
“It takes so much funding to keep the playground going, and you work so hard for every dollar that you get,” said Penza.
Warwick police were on scene investigating Thursday, and were able to dust for fingerprints. There are no security cameras installed at the park.
A $1,000 reward is being offered by Reads Landscape Construction of West Warwick for anyone with information that leads to an arrest.
The playground was previously vandalized in 2007. The vandals smashed every window on a building that houses a play train, and killed more than 300 fish in the playground’s pond.Below, Street Stories profiles Anthony Bright, an autistic teen who in 2012 won a contest to design the playground’s sign.