Town of Clayton Water Tower at Sunset
Welcome the Town of Clayton, North Carolina

Clayton is working to build a playground where children of all abilities can laugh, play, and interact in a safe, welcoming environment!

A spectacular gala took place on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 featuring WRAL's Debra Morgan as the host for an inspirational evening, including red-carpet treatment, a 3-course meal, and CNN Hero-of-the-Year Amy Wright, who founded Bitty & Beau's Coffee in honor of her children who were born with Down Syndrome. The employees of her coffee shops in Wilmington NC, Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA have intellectual and developmental disabilities - now, not only do they have a job, they now have a way to become more valued and accepted in their community. Visit Harmony Playground's Facebook Page to view photos from the evening. 

Thanks to the generous donors at that event, more than $22,061 was raised - pushing this public-private partnership project across the halfway point to it's $800,000 fundraising goal! We hope to begin construction at East Clayton Community Park. 

Check for all the latest updates and how can get involved by heading to the Harmony Playground, presented by Caterpillar website NOW!

Including children of ALL abilities when young and teaching typically able-bodied children how to interact with these exceptional children is SO important in building a better community. Thank you to all of the moms, families, community volunteers and businesses like Caterpillar, Novo Nordisk and others who have supported this dream – let’s join them to make it a reality!  Head to and “like” Harmony Playground Presented by Caterpillar at ECCP to find out more! 

The Town of Clayton initiated a public-private partnership with Clayton Community Recreational Foundation, Inc. in 2014.  That non-profit, 501(c)3 organization has been helping the community support family events, parks and other Clayton recreation activities for more than 2 decades. The Mayor & Council dedicated land at the Town's newest and largest park on Glen Laurel Road, East Clayton Community Park.  They also hired CLH Design of Cary to draft the concept and cost analysis for this one-of-a-kind, destination playground. 

Jan Craig, the mother of a 6-year-old little girl with special needs, told the crowd at the recent campaign re-launch in Town Council Chambers that she actually got a concussion trying to help her daughter on a playset at a traditional playground. She avoids them now. 

“My daughter barely walked until she was three, so I would be on a playground having to help her  just get to the playground, helping her get up the stairs to a slide that often times would end up being too steep for her even to go down,” said Craig. “None of the children would interact with her, she’s special needs, her mom is helping her with every step. And for me, there’s no interaction with other moms either because I’m very busy helping her.”

For Craig, the Universal Playground would mean there will finally be a place in her hometown that's useable and exciting for all children, no matter what their limitations.

Children of all abilities need to be able to have playtime to enhance their growth and development," said Craig, a Johnston County mother of a special needs child.  "This is not always an easy thing to accomplish for children with various disabilities. Soon our children will be gathering in Clayton to play safely in this space designed with everyone's needs in mind."  

Bridgett Bailey, of the MOMS Club of Clayton, says she looks forward to educating the community and children about the importance of inclusion play.

My son interacting with special needs children has helped him understand how to interact with them, and ultimately, I hope, it will lead to him having more compassion for special needs children, as he gets older," said Bailey. "I think this is something all kids should experience."

We hope you’ll want to learn more about how you can help create this joyful place for children to play

Go to the Clayton Recreational Foundation's Playground Facebook page to learn more, Universal Playground at East Clayton Community Park

For further information on this incredible project by the Clayton Community Recreational Foundation, Inc. please email

Join the Generous Supporters

Already, businesses and private donors have given major support. 

  • Caterpillar Building Construction Products division donated site preparation for the playground and has become the naming sponsor.
  • Novo Nordisk - Novo Nordisk has been the proud sponsor of golf tournaments and the first annual Harmony Playground Gala. Novo Nordisk is investing $2 billion in a new production facility in Clayton. which will result in the creation of 691 new, high-paying jobs over the next five years and will nearly double the size of the company’s workforce in Johnston County.  
  • Automatic Rolls of North Carolina, a major employer in Clayton, pledged $50,000. “We view Celebration Playground as a significant new amenity for all the citizens of Clayton and Johnston County, as well as the families of our employees,” said Richard Tommy, plant manager of Automatic Rolls. “It’s another reason for us all to feel great about living and working in Clayton.”
  • $10,000 donated through Clayton resident Margaret Lawson Frook in honor of a family member with special needs  
  • The Archway Foundation, founded by Chris Archer, donated $4,000. The Clayton High School graduate pitches for the Tampa Bay Rays in Major League Baseball's American League.  
  • Walmart and Sam's Club, including Walmart of Clayton and 10 regional locations awarded community grants to the playground 
  • Sheetz, Inc. gave $1,000


The playground would incorporate physical activities to build strength, social interaction and communication to make friends, cognitive elements to help develop personalities and sensory elements to delight children through sight, sound and touch. The playground would be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will incorporate special ramps which would make it easy for adults and children who have difficulty moving around on ground covered with uneven grass, sand, straw or mulch.

“On behalf of all of our kids…THANK YOU,” said Candice Collier- Lang, a parent of two daughters, one with special needs, who was a member of the initial community focus group that helped kick-start the playground effort.  “Thank you to Mayor Pro Tem Michael Grannis, Councilman Butch Lawter and the town council members for supporting the inclusive park and supporting the needs of our kids!”

The playground would be located at East Clayton Community Park, a 60-acre park, on Glen Laurel Road. The park already features many firsts for Clayton, including a regulation-size baseball field, regulation-size soccer field and the Town’s first multi-purpose playing field.  The Universal Playground would sit under a canopy of trees adjacent to convenient parking, an attractive stone pavilion with restrooms, and a beautiful 1-mile walking trail.

"It’s not just that a playground is what most children view as a necessity to make East Clayton Community Park a “real park”, it’s that we are approaching this project with the unique opportunity for everyone to participate," said Parks & Recreation Director Larry Bailey.  "This project will have a major impact on our community by conveying a message that our town cares about all of our citizens."



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