Kids in Harrisburg and Carrier Mills have something to be proud of this week with a playground in each community assembled by volunteers over the weekend.
Both playgrounds came about due to grants from the KaBOOM! organization. Both incorporated ideas of the children who will be using them. Both were assembled with volunteer labor. Both came to reality Saturday, but that was purely coincidence.
According to volunteers in Harrisburg, 237 people showed up to put together the playground at the Gaskins City baseball and softball fields of the Harrisburg Township Park.
Carrier Mills' new play place is in Washington Park, a park dear to many adults who remember visiting it as pupils at Carrier Mills Elementary School. The park has lost its luster since then.
"I grew up in this neighborhood. It was awful, but now its great," volunteer Amie Doty said.
"I think its going to give the town more pride," Sharon Stover said.
The Carrier Mills Youth Board was one of the groups involved with the project. Women involved in the group hope the new playground may be utilized as it was years ago — as a sort of mini-field trip destination to reward good behavior. The park is only a couple blocks from the elementary school.
Tyler Johnson of the Carrier Mills Park Board described the new playground as incorporating a climbing and slide piece designed for 2- to 5-year olds, another apparatus designed for 5- to 12-year-olds, a Super Satellite Climber, an Aeroplane Teeter Totter, a tri-level bar and three new swings.
As the park is sort of pie shaped between two street, parents will appreciate a fence that will keep kids out of harm's way. The park board will also appreciate the fence that can be secured at night to keep vandals from damaging the equipment.
"Earlier we had about 30 individuals (working). Now there's about 15 to 20 people. Everybody was here working since 7:30 this morning," Johnson said.
The Carrier Mills project began with a $9,000 grant from the KaBOOM! organization of New York that funds playgrounds as a way to instill pride, cooperation and volunteerism in communities.
The park board spend about $10,000 of its money on the project. The Christian Coalition and the Carrier Mills Youth Board spent $1,500 each. The playground equipment is worth about $26,000, Johnson said.
The Christian Coalition provided food and beverages and Domino's Pizza and Little Chapel Kids Ministry Operation Now helped.
The Harrisburg playground was funded through a cooperative effort by the Harrisburg Park District, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois and the Southern Illinois Community Foundation.