Hundreds Gather To Build New Playground In Park Heights Community

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Park Heights neighborhood is no longer pegged as a so-called playground desert.

Christie Ileto explains–almost 1200 area kids now have a safe place to play outside.

About one in five children live in walking distance of a playground or park.

But Wednesday in Park Heights, seven-year-old Saunceray Johnson will no longer be part of that statistic.

“We live in the neighborhood as well as going to KIPP Harmony, so we would have to drive to go to where we wanted to play,” said Penny Walton, mother.

The CarMax Foundation, KaBOOM and droves of volunteers are out building a safe place for area children to play at KIPP Baltimore Academy–ending the so-called playground desert in the area.

Ileto: “What do you want to see on the playground?”

Johnson: “A sliding board, a swing and monkey bars.”

The cost: $4.1 million. The labor: Free. The result: Priceless.

“Who better to have fun than children? We want to be a part of organizations like this, part of this national sponsorship with KaBOOM. To bBuild playgrounds and give back,” a volunteer said.

Event organizers estimate that about 300 CarMax employees and parent volunteers are putting together this playground in a matter of hours. They’re broken up into teams.

One team is building sand boxes and park benches. Another team is laying the foundation for the playground.

“KIPP Baltimore, the school and those parents they were vocal about the need and the want and desire for a playground,” said Evan Mynatt, Project Manager, KaBOOM. “And we were excited to make this location the one we chose.”

And by day’s end, the playground will be up and close to 1,200 area children like Saunceray will have a safe place to play outside.

Children at KIPP Baltimore helped design the playground at the school.

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