We are residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the old Memorial Stadium working in partnership with schools, businesses, local institutions, other community organizations and interested friends. Our dream of a playground that will bring families together in a safe recreational environment has been adopted by the boards of our four community associations — Waverly Improvement Association, The Better Waverly Community Organization, Ednor Gardens-Lakeside Civic Association and Coldstream/Homestead/Montebello Community Corporation.
Why We Want To Build A Playground:
Our neighborhoods do not have adequate play space for the over 3,148 children in grades K-8 at our six schools, plus many younger ones at home and in day care centers. We have no parks and most of the few small playgrounds do not meet safety standards. But, in addition to building a playground, we are also building a community. While the Stadium-area neighborhoods are relatively stable, low to moderate income communities, we are experiencing problems of absentee landlords, drugs and low-performing schools. In addition, the closing of Memorial Stadium continues to be a loss for the area. The playground and the inclusive way it will be built are designed to promote neighborhood pride and cohesion as well as individual empowerment. (back to top)
We began looking at possible playground sites in the community, but the only ones available were too small or too isolated. At the same time, the city was considering proposals to redevelop Memorial Stadium. Playground organizers approached each of the three groups submitting proposals and requested that a playground and playing fields be part of each project. The group made up of the Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation (GEDCO) and the YMCA responded with enthusiasm. Their proposal to build an attractive mixed income retirement community was chosen and they welcomed our component. The campus will provide apartments, opportunities for home ownership and assisted living facilities. A YMCA will provide inter generational social and recreational opportunities for residents and the surrounding communities. Our three organizations share the vision of children bringing joy to seniors through play, and seniors passing their wisdom on to children through neighborly conversation. (back to top)
How We Decided on The Playground Company:
Leathers and Associates, an Ithica, New York firm, has created over 1600 community-built playgrounds world-wide. We were particularly impressed with their approach to community enrichment and their work with neighborhood children to design educational playgrounds. Their motto is "Community-Built Builds Community". We contacted people in Alabama, Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, California and Hartford County, Maryland who had worked on Leathers' community-built playgrounds. We heard about volunteers working side-by-side over several days, making connections that would not normally occur, and inspiring everyone who participated with a sense of ownership. As one volunteer stated: "In the opinion of many, this brought the community together as nothing else has!" Follow-up contacts were made to gather more information about the safety and durability of the Leathers model over time. The responses we received confirmed our choice to work with Leathers to build our playground. (back to top)
A variety of materials will be used. We will be following the recommendations of Leathers, since they are the architects. If you CLICK HERE you can read about the various types of materials, and in what context they will be utilized.