LOUGHMAN – Consider it a Extreme Makeover – the Dream Village-style.
“It’s a huge project for us and we’re very excited about it,” said Rich Mergo, the director of development at the Sunshine Foundation’s Dream Village in Loughman.
The makeover will be to one of the specially-themed cottages at the Dream Village in Loughman, which over the past 20 years has welcomed more than 20,000 special children whose number one dream is to visit the Central Florida theme parks.
“Tomorrow is the groundbreaking for our cottage makeover,” Mergo said. ‘’They get here between 10:30 and 11 on Friday morning.”
What has Mergo most excited is the entity that’s agreed to not only redo the cottages – but also give it a very look: a Lego look.
“It’s been a long term kind of process,” Mergo said. “They came out and toured the village in January of 2011, and started the plans of wanting to do one of the cottages. This is our first real makeover for a cottage.”
The firm coming up to Davenport from Winter Haven is a big one in the region: Legoland Florida, the theme park that opened last October and is gearing up to celebrate its one year anniversary as the newest theme park in Central Florida.
The theme park, modeled after the successful Legoland parks in Europe and California, pledged when they first announced plans to build on the former site of the Cypress Gardens park that it would be a strong corporate neighbor. Mergo said almost from the beginning, officials at Legoland reached out to the Dream Village with an offer to help.
And Legoland decided the best way to do that, he added, was by renovating a cottage at the Dream Village.
So on Friday, Legoland Florida and Merlin’s Magic Wand teamed up to completely remodel one of the themed cottages at the Dream Village. Working with employees from Tucker Construction, Home Depot, Kommercial Refrigeration, Rick Wilson Painting and Badcock Home Furniture, they plan to give that a unique new look.
“The outside is going to be completed sanded and the shingles and landscaping will be done over,” Mergo said. “They’re taking it down to the bare walls and remodeling it with a lego theme inside.”
The Sunshine Foundation’s sole purpose is to answer the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged and abused children, ages three to 18, whose families can’t fulfill their requests due to the financial strain that the child’s illness causes.
Mergo said he expects the children who stay at the cottage in the future are definitely going to appreciate the new look.
“The kids are going to love it,” he said.
The Dream Village has benefitted in the past from the volunteer support of other theme parks like Walt Disney World.
“They have helped us out in the past,” Mergo said. But he added that Legoland’s contribution is not expecting to be a one-time event.
“They’re going to keep coming here,” he said, “and fixing up our facilities.”
To learn more, log on to the Website, www.sunshinefoundation.org.
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