Roughly 400 Norton Elementary School students were wide-eyed Friday when seeing the new playground they helped design at Seccombe Lake Park in San Bernardino.
The volunteers, comprised of the Parks and Recreation Department, Target associates, city officials, and residents, worked together to construct the 1,200 square foot recreation ground near the baseball fields at the park.
And while the playground won’t be officially opened to the public for a few days, residents believe it will bring joy and pride back to a community that has seen an array of crime and blight.
“This is the start of rebuilding this community,” said Jesus Luna, whose two children attend school at Norton. “Hopefully families will be able to help bring back life and pride to this park.”
The project was led by KaBoom!–the nonprofit organization that aims to bring balanced and active recreation to children in impoverished areas. Since 1996, the organization has built an estimated 2,500 playgrounds across the U.S. and organized six playground builds in San Bernardino.
For six weeks, volunteers from the previously mentioned organizations met to organize the event’s logistics, such as garnering more volunteers and ensuring supplies and other necessities were in order. Preparation for the build began on Wednesday.
Besides helping build the playground, which features a swing set, monkey bars, and a slide, the 150 or so volunteers assisted in constructing four shade structures, eight picnic tables,wooden trash can bin holders, and the seating on about 50 benches throughout the park.
Parks and Recreation Director Jim Tickemyer confirmed that new LED lights were installed around the playground and baseball field area for safety reasons; special restraints will make it difficult to steal electrical wire and shatter lighting covers. He also said fencing will be installed to minimize vandalism.
“We’ve taken considerable steps to protect our investment,” he said.
Tickemyer believes the new improvements and construction of the playground will contribute to boosting the morale of residents.
“From the feedback I’ve received, the community has been itching to have something to back up,” he said. “These people are very excited to see something positive going on at this park.”