FREMONT — She's won Olympic gold, triumphed in television's most watched dance competition and now famed skater Kristi Yamaguchi is ready to unveil a playground in her hometown.
The Always Dream Play Park is scheduled to open Saturday afternoon in Fremont's Central Park near Stevenson Boulevard and Gallaudet Drive.
Yamaguchi's Always Dream Foundation has been working for more than three years on the playground, which will be one of only a few in the Bay Area built to allow all children, including those with disabilities, to play side-by-side.
The park will include a wheelchair accessible slide, two swing sets and a drum set that allows deaf children to feel the vibrations they make. In addition to several more play structures, the park will have a small amphitheater, picnic tables and benches.
The 18,000-square-foot park, between Central Park's softball and soccer fields, is scheduled to open to the public at 3 p.m. Saturday after an invitation-only ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Always Dream Foundation so far has raised about $350,000 of the park's $760,000 price tag, said Lori Yamaguchi, Kristi's sister. The foundation decided to build the park even without having raised all the funds, she said. It will continue seeking donations to pay for the park.
The struggling economy made it harder to raise money and persuade construction contractors to donate their work, Yamaguchi said. Swinerton Inc. provided construction management services free of charge.
Donations may be made to Kristi Yamaguchi's Always Dream Foundation, 1203 Preservation Park Way, Suite 102, Oakland, CA 94612.