Those volunteers moved 150 cubic yards of mulch and mixed 16,000 pounds of concrete by hand to create a 2,900 square-feet playground that offers a swing set, a tire swing, rock hangers and a drum panel, among other things. They also built a number of wood projects, such as benches, around the playground.
The project, funded through a grant, was a collaborative effort among the Salvation Army, the McDonald’s Foundation and Kaboom! and is open to all children in the community.
According to Kaboom! Project Manager Jennifer Leshnower, the playground is designed for children between the ages of five and 12 years and can accommodate up to 56 children at any given time.
“What we are seeing today is a culmination of eight weeks of hard work,” Leshnower said, adding that it took about this long to plan the event, including a Design Day in October, where local children were asked to the kind of playground they’d like to see.
Having volunteers from the community involved in building the playground gives people a sense of ownership and makes it more likely for them to take good care of it, she said.
“Instead of building a playground for the community, we build a playground with the community,” said Leshnower.
Only very few playgrounds of this kind have been built in the United States as a result of the partnership between the McDonald’s Foundation and Kaboom!, and the Griffin playground will be the first in the state of Georgia, said local McDonald’s operator and contact person for the project Yves Dominique.
“This is amazing. The kids really get to use this,” said Dominique, adding that the opportunity for children to play at an outside playground helps keeping them out of trouble at the same time.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Maj. Jack Butler, commanding officer of the Griffin-Spalding Salvation Army, of the efforts he saw throughout the day. “The amount of work that’s been done since 8:30 a.m. this (Saturday) morning, it’s unbelievable. It’s amazing.”