WESTFIELD, Ind. – A sensory friendly gym in Westfield is sending a heartfelt plea for keeping its doors open as it runs out of money and time.
The owners of Carter’s Play Place said they may have to close Sunday if they can’t find enough funds.
“It’s not just my son’s namesake it’s for the community,” Adam Meents, a co-owner said.
The gym is named after Meents’ son, Carter, who he said is severely autistic. He said as they became a part of the autism community, they saw a need for a gym like it.
“We all kind of felt the same way, we don’t really have anything that’s all inclusive and really geared specifically where we remove the stigma,” Meents said.
The gym said it provides adaptive play for all children. In addition, it hosts birthday parties and field trips. Meents said children from across Westfield and even out-of-state visit. But just shy of its one year anniversary, the privately owned company is looking for donations or an investor.
“We’ve asked for around $66,000 for one third interest of the gym that would be used to get us to the next step, to get occupational therapy clinic in here where I think we would see profitability,” co-owner Joe Blamer said.
Across the Indianapolis area, there are not many places like the gym, though some say there’s a need for them.
“It’s such a great need to have them, just have options of being able to take your loved one somewhere to kind of get that social needs met,” Kelli Higgins, a community outreach ally for the Autism Society of Indiana, said.
The gym’s owners wrote a letter to customers explaining their situation.
“It’s heartbreaking to think about the void that’s gonna be left here,” Blamer said.
They said the outpouring of support since is keeping them going.
“We were motivated before but we’re even more so now to say let’s not make Sunday our last day,” Meents said.