On Saturday, August 29th, at eight in the morning, more 200 volunteers gathered in an empty field at the Green Road park in Raleigh. By the end of the day, the neighborhood had a new playground to swing, slide and climb on.
National nonprofit KaBOOM! helps to unite contributors with volunteers, coordinating with local municipalities to handle all of the details. KaBOOM!s mission is to build a playground within walking distance of every child in the US. Insurance company Foresters contributed much of the budget (and a bunch of volunteers!) for the Green Road build.
As a light morning shower gave way to sun, we split into squads, each team building a small part of the playground structure. Slides, climbing walls, ladders and swings were quickly assembled. Some teams reported to the community center to finish building bleachers for the indoor basketball courts while others assembled benches and trash cans. One team even helped to paint a new section of the community center to match the rest of the building.
Then, the tough work began – connecting all of the pieces into one big structure. This involved a lot of pushing, lifting, twisting and teeth-gritting as we raised each section into place and connected it. At the same time, the first wheelbarrows-full of mulch were dumped into place. As the building of the playground neared completion, the cement brigade kicked into high gear, filling the post-holes around the playground base with freshly mixed cement. There was a *lot* of activity in a fairly confined space. By the end of the day, we moved 4 palettes of cement (4lbs per bag, 20 bags per palette) and 200 cubic yards of mulch. All day long KaBOOM! did a wonderful job of keeping us moving and motivated with music, raffles and shouted encouragement.
I was really impressed with the location of the playground on the grounds of the Green Road park. The city planning team did a great job of integrating the playground into a stand of trees, providing a lot of shade. Picnic tables and benches are situated nearby to allow families to move easily between picnic and play. Kudos to the Raleigh Park and Rec staff that spent many weeks of prep and planning to make the build a success.
Build a Park on Lane Street
Are you interested in building a playground? KaBOOM! is sponsoring another build on Lane Street near Oakwood on October first. Home Depot is sponsoring this build. If you’re interested in helping out, contact Cindy Trumbower, the volunteer director for Raleigh parks, at 996-3292 or email@example.com.
Update: KaBOOM! has posted some pics from the build on their site. Be sure to check out Raleigh parks superintendent Wayne Schindler as a (sparkly!) redhead.