Metro Chicago Residents Help Build Park in One Day

June 05, 2011

At 8 a.m. on Saturday, a park in Berwyn was rundown and inhabitable; another victim of the down-turned economy.

By 3 p.m. the same day, a brand new playground and garden was unveiled.

This is the before shot: Does not look like a park fit for a kid.

The new Brocato Playground and Garden at Cuyler Park was fully assembled from scratch in one day with help from more than 250 volunteers and local community residents.

The day was organized by the North Berwyn Park District in conjunction with Disney, which provided the funding, and KaBOOM!, a charity that creates play areas for children around the country.

The new park, at 19th Street and Cuyler in the Western suburb, features modern playground equipment in a safe environment for local children to enjoy. There is also a vegetable garden so the kids can grow healthy food and gets hands-on learning about nutrition.

“We are thrilled that this community effort in designing and building Brocato Playground and Garden will make healthier living choices more accessible for children and their families in Berwyn,” said Joseph Vallez, Executive Director of North Berwyn Park District.

“Play is essential, and a new playspace surrounded by art will create an esthetically pleasing new place for kids to stay active. The benefits of a community garden are invaluable, as it will encourage families to grow nutritious foods as well as stimulate social interaction amongst neighbors.

“This project is part of a bigger healthier living project which will include additional recreation features in the near future.”

Can you imagine drawing the park of your dreams and then getting it?

Disney has contributed over $1 million this year to help KaBOOM! build playgrounds and learning gardens in 13 communities across the U.S.

Volunteers met in April when children drew pictures of their dream playground. Those drawings were used to create the final playground design.

So many people wanted to participate in the build day that the North Berwyn Park District had to turn away more than 100 volunteers.

Don’t worry if you were one of them: While the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place this weekend, the Park District will host a grand opening at the park next Saturday, June 11 at 9 a.m.

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