‘Jo Jo’s Jungle’ breaks ground, hoping to create a playground for children of all abilities

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — An all-inclusive playground in Wausau will formally break ground Wednesday with the goal of enriching social skills, sensory learning, and promoting physical fitness in a safe environment.

‘Jo Jo’s Jungle’ will be the first of its kind in Marathon County.

The inspiration behind Jo Jo’s came from the Hoerter family. Their son, Josiah, died in 2015 before his third birthday due to complications from a rare genetic disorder.

Josiah was set to receive a ‘Make a Wish’ to have an all-accessible playground in his backyard before his passing. Josiah’s parents, Patrick and Destiny, instead made a promise to create a similar park in Wausau to honor him, and for all to enjoy.

“There is really no good venue in Wausau for children with special needs to get out and play together with friends and other families,” said Patrick Hoerter. “And ‘Jo Jo’s Jungle’ will be just that.”

The Hoerter family’s gain from their help in creating the park won’t be kept to themselves.

“We gain the intangible joy of seeing everyone else play at the playground, and we’ll just share in that blessing with everyone else,” said Patrick Hoerter.

The playground will feature a jungle theme and include an accessible zip-line, splash pad, a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round and parent and child dual swings.

The playground is hoping to open in October, if weather cooperates.

Chase McNamara

Chase McNamara

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