One of the oldest parks in St. Louis got a new playground today. But, organizers hope this does a lot more than give kids a place to play.
You could feel the energy as people worked together to build the playground.Neighbors spoke with excitement about rebuilding their community.
Pouring concrete, drilling holes, and digging a garden was part of a whirlwind of work at Gravios Park Thursday.
“Play really matters to kids. It's so critical for the social physical and developmental needs of kids throughout the country,” said Brian McNamara, a project manager with KaBOOM!, a non for profit that builds parks for kids.
Over 200 volunteers removed old hardware and installed four slides, four swing sets, and other new equipment in just six hours.
New Balance Athletics volunteers supported the effort.
“We wanted to make sure that we could be somewhat of a beacon for movement in an underprivileged neighborhood that could really take advantage of it,” said Derek Shon, New Balance Athletics volunteer.
Compare this before picture of the park with a new one of the playground.
“The Gravois Park Neighborhood is the most densely populated neighborhood in the entire city and so we were in great need of upgrading our facility, said Cara Spencer, St. Louis Alderman of Ward 20.
Twelve-year-old Heaven Uhuru says she plans to spend a lot of time in the park.
“I'm really excited because I don't like to come outside a lot. I usually sit on the Internet on my computer and my mom’s like hey you need to go outside and do something. So now I'll actually want to come outside and have fun with my friends,” she said.
Uhuru's mother Pacia says she believes the makeover will lead to more than just play and draw the community together.