Remember pumping your legs to arc higher and higher on a swing? That feeling of personal power? The exhiliration of feeling in control but on the verge of flying?
Kids in Homewood are going to get to feel that way for the first time in 40 years after Saturday, when about 200 volunteers will pour onto the site of the former Rosedale Playground to erect swings, slides and other new equipment. The one-day installation is sponsored by the PNC Foundation with technical support from KaBOOM! and a design by kids. (This photo is of a KaBOOM! lot in Spring Garden and is not intended to show what the Homewood cite will look like.)
Volunteers will spend from 8a to 2.30p at 7833 Susquehanna St. replacing a playground that was only 15 years old. That doesn’t sound old enough to need replacing, but Dianne Swan of the Rosedale Block Cluster said it was pretty bedraggled. Kids were still using it, though, and when they saw the block cluster folks dismantling it to prepare for the KaBOOM! event, some of them started crying. “You’d have thought it was Kennywood,” she said. “It was a tot lot, but we have a lot of older children for whom it was a destination. It was a safe spot.”
The new playground will have a section for kids aged 2 to 5 and a section for older children.
PNC Foundation is providing the majority of the funding and 120 bank employees among 200 volunteers for a combined value of $100,000, said Joe Balaban, manager of external communications for the PNC Foundation.
The Rosedale Block Cluster raised $7,500 in additional funds. KaBOOM takes care of the logistics and the planning.
Several years ago, I reported on a KaBOOM! playground that went up in a vacant lot along Spring Garden Avenue. At the time, some in the neighborhood predicted the playground would be trashed in no time. My colleague Ruthann Dailey said its location on busy Spring Garden Avenue causes concern but that it is well used by people of the appropriate age. I go by that playground pretty regularly and have never seen it vandalized. I took the photo in this post yesterday. I’m always grateful when something doesn’t push my pessimism button.
PNC and KaBOOM! are doing several projects together. Mike Vietti of KaBOOM! said PNC “gave us a list of places they wanted to build in and they gave us the challenge of finding” worthy sites.
One cool feature of the playground in Homewood will be what he called “an imagination playground in a box.” It’s a big metal box on wheels that stores forms of different sizes and shapes made of pressurized foam. Kids can take the pieces out and construct things, deconstruct and reconstruct, and the box can be moved around.
Here’s the link to the video of Imagination Playground in a Box: http://kaboom.org/about_kaboom/programs/imagination_playground
And happy swinging, Homewood kiddies!