Kids Think Big to Design a Playground of Their Dreams
Public-private partnership unites to get a new playground in the Hopkins-Tancil area in Old Town.
A rock climbing wall, a pool, a spaceship and the Avengers were just some of the ideas offered by a group of children given the chance to dream big at the Charles Houston Recreation Center on Wednesday.
The labor of Ruby Tucker Family Center Project Coordinator Jason Ellis paid off. He wrote a successful grant to bring a new playground, worth about $85,000 to the often underserved Hopkins-Tancil area in Old Town.
A group of about 200 volunteers is slated to put together the playground on Sept. 13 in about six hours.
Playground advocates KaBOOM! as well as sponsors the Washington Capitals, nonprofit So Kids Can and community supporters ACTion Alexandria, Alfred Street Baptist Church, the City of Alexandria, Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria and the Urban League, among others, united to make the magic a reality.
KaBOOM! Project Manager Kathryn Lusk said the partnership with the Caps as well as the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority was a natural fit because the organizations are “passionate about community involvement with open space…I’m excited to work with a group that cares about community ownership of public space."
The Washington Capitals are rustling up 125 volunteers, but more are needed.
“The Washington Capitals and So Kids Can are excited to partner with ARHA to bring a new playground to the Hopkins-Tancil Court community,” said Elizabeth Wodatch, Washington Capitals director of community relations. “After building a playground with KaBOOM! last year we’re looking forward to teaming up with them again.”
Ellis said the new playground is much needed because the current play set is too small and in disrepair.
“We also want to encourage a healthy lifestyle,” Ellis said. “We know that a lot of kids in the area struggle with obesity. Additionally, the new structures will be accessible to children with disabilities.”
Volunteers interested in participating on Sept. 13 can contact Ellis via email.