Published Nov. 7, 2023
BY IMOGEN NICHOLSON
Through farmers markets, fairs and community outreach, the Carmel Valley community is fundraising for the construction of Tatum’s Treehouse, a fully accessible playground located at the Carmel Valley Community Youth Center.
The effort is being led by Amanda Bakker, who previously founded Salinas first accessible playground in 2013, Tatum’s Garden. Tatum’s Treehouse will be Monterey County’s second community-funded, community-built and community-designed playground. Tatum’s Treehouse is named after Bakker’s daughter and will have a fun treehouse design.
Bakker was looking for a place to build a second playground, and the CVCYC happened to have an old, well-used playground in need of renovation, so they decided to partner up.
“Carmel Valley Community Youth Center was hoping to find a way to make their playground more accessible and we said, ‘Hey, let’s partner together and make that happen,’” Bakker explains.
When Tatum’s Treehouse has reached their fundraising goal, there will be a community build week. They will be looking for volunteers from Carmel High School and the surrounding area to come together and help construct the playground.
According to Bakker, they had raised about $250,000 out of their $800,000 goal as of Oct. 26. Once they have reached 50% of their goal, they expect to set a date during 2024 for its completion.
The committee for Tatum’s Treehouse usually meets once a month to plan opportunities to fundraise and spread the word.
“The playground is in the theme of a treehouse,” explains Tatum’s Treehouse Committee member Brian Granbery. “Everything is ramped…. There’s a merry-go-round that children in wheelchairs can go on, handicap accessible swings, things around that will be in Braille for the seeing impaired. There’s a design planned for a sensory maze for people with autism.”
Sponsors can get their name engraved on the fence or a brick in the wall, Bakker adds.
“It’s not just asking someone, ‘Hey, can you give us a check?’” the mother of three explains. “It’s having their name attached to something that will be there for their families and grandchildren to enjoy.”
Donations to help Tatum’s Treehouse grow can be made at tatumstreehouse.com/donation/.