On June 20, more than 4,000 children in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood received a great new place to play thanks to hundreds of volunteers.
The new 2,500-square-foot playground was fully assembled from scratch in less than eight hours with the help of more than 200 volunteers from Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration and Shinda Management Corp, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Willoughby Court Apartments.
Volunteers gathered for a kickoff ceremony at 9:30 a.m. and completed the playground project in time for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:00 p.m. In that timeframe, volunteers mixed and poured more than 20,800 pounds of concrete and moved more than 40,500 square feet of safety surfacing all by hand.
Colvin Grannum, President and CEO of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, said, "The ability for children to play and socialize outdoors without harm is essential. For Restoration, this project is especially a proud moment as it allows us to work with KaBOOM!, Forest City Ratner Companies, families and members of our community on a playground that will bring safe and healthy play to so many children. As former owners of the building, Restoration maintains a close relationship to Willoughby Court Apartments, LP. and is happy to be a part of such a wonderful project.
"We are excited to have this playground available to all of our youngest residents and are very appreciative of Forest City's contribution," said Chris Bramwell, President of Shinda Management Corp.
The new playground will provide more than 4,000 children each year with a safe place to play. The previous playground equipment available to the children was more than 30 years old and falling into disrepair. Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in May when children from the neighborhood met with Forest City Ratner Companies and organizers from KaBOOM! to design their dream playground. The children's drawings were then used to create the final playground design.
“There are so many factors that go into the development of a child and one of the most important is having a safe and proper outdoor play space,” said Bruce Ratner, Executive Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies. “Working with KaBOOM to help ensure that the children of New York City have safe places to play outdoors and in close proximity to their homes is an honor and that is why we continue to partner with them.”
The playground is the second built by KaBOOM! and Forest City Ratner Companies and is one of more than 150 playground builds KaBOOM! will lead across the country in 2013 in an effort to fulfill its vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
“KaBOOM! is dedicated to saving play for all children and our vision is a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America,” said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! Founder and CEO. “Thanks to the partnership of Forest City Ratner Companies, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration, Shinda Management Corp, and volunteers from the Willoughby Court Apartments and larger community, we moved one step closer to that vision by building something that every child deserves – a great place to play.”