The Max Moore Memorial Tree House project will be hosting a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the success of a three-year campaign in conjunction with the Plattsburgh State public relations department.

The project began in June 2012, after the death of 5-year-old Plattsburgh boy Max Moore, who was wheelchair-ridden and had loved to climb trees. His mother, Heidi, a pediatrician, had the idea to build a wheelchair-accessible treehouse for all children to enjoy, said Cardinal Public Relations President Gracie Lewis.

Teaming up with groups various Plattsburgh area groups and enlisting the help of PSUC public relations students, the project has since raised nearly $60,000 through community projects like the Tree House 5K and Zumbathon.

“It (the project) is not through an organization or anything, but we have gotten huge donations by Sunrise Rotary and a lot of others,” Lewis said.

On May 9, Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon, Heidi Moore and the project coordinator, Ashley Cousens, of Vision2Action, will be giving speeches about the accomplishment. After the speeches, there will be activities for the children who attend.

“We’re having a fun run for the little kids,” Cardinal PR Treasurer Dani Surento said.

“We’re hoping it’s going to be an attraction for Plattsburgh,” Lewis said, “especially now with the development of the television show ‘Treehouse Masters’ on Animal Planet. There are bigger, cooler treehouses out there.”

Surento explained that when the treehouse is completed, it will be roughly the size of a classroom full of kids.

“It was started so that Max could experience a treehouse. Anyone who uses a wheelchair will get to experience what it’s like to play in a treehouse. It’s not something you can just build in your backyard,” Surento said.

Cousens said the planning committee for the project has begun ordering materials for construction and is expecting to have everything finalized within three to four weeks.

“We have a few days left of our fundraising, so keep on spreading the word and sharing our project,” Cousens said on the project’s fundraising page on redbasket.org, a website to help community groups raise money.

She also thanked Plattsburgh and the surrounding area for its continued support.

“It means so much to this community,” she said.

Email Patrick Willisch at patrick.willisch@cardinalpointsonline.com

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