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City of Pittsburgh: Maria Montaño | City of Pittsburgh | 412-500-6669 | email@example.com
The League: Debbie Bitting | 717-236-9469, x*223 | firstname.lastname@example.org
KABOOM!: Tamara Grider | email@example.com
City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Municipal League and KABOOM! Unveil Kid-Designed, Community-Built Playground at West Penn Park – Polish Hill
Pittsburgh joins forces with The League to advance playspace equity in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA (October 5, 2022) – Today, kids at West Penn Park – Polish Hill in Pittsburgh are celebrating the debut of a new kid-designed playground. The months-long collaboration between The City of Pittsburgh, The League, and KABOOM!, along with the generous support of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), The Grable Foundation, Duquesne Light, Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network culminated this week as more than 200 volunteers installed the new playspace which will offer hundreds of kids a high-quality, safe place to play that is close to where they live and learn.
“The League is thrilled to help build a new playground in West Penn Park with the City of Pittsburgh, KABOOM!, DCNR and our outstanding funding partners,” said League Executive Director John Brenner. “Safe playspaces are critically important to children, families and neighborhoods. Thanks to the Polish Hill Civic Association for their support and engagement.”
The new playground was a collaborative effort by community members, including kids, who presented creative ideas for their dream playground during a design day in August. The playground is inspired by those drawings and will provide hundreds of kids and their families with a place to get active, build social bonds, and gather as a community.
“Equitable access to parks and playgrounds is critical to helping every child in our city feel welcome,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “We are excited to be able to bring this new playground to life, and are thankful to everyone in our community who has stepped up, volunteered, and did the hard work to provide a safe place to play for our children.”
“Playgrounds are an iconic part of childhood. They’re not only where kids collect some of their best memories, but also where crucial skills are developed that nurture their physical, mental and emotional well-being,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “KABOOM! is thrilled to work with our partners to bring to life the new playspace at West Penn Park and ensure that kids in the Polish Hill area of Pittsburgh have a place designed just for them, where they can play, learn, and unlock their greatest potential.”
Play is essential to the physical, social and emotional health of every child. However, historic disinvestment and exclusion caused by systemic racism have denied generations of children equitable access to parks and playgrounds, disproportionately affecting communities of color. The new playground at West Penn Park – Polish Hill, designed with the neighborhood’s unique needs and aspirations in mind, brings the City of Pittsburgh one step closer toward ending playspace inequity and ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to experience the joys of childhood.
“We are excited to work with the Pennsylvania Municipal League on improvements at West Penn Park Playground. It will certainly have a positive impact in the city for many years to come,” said Tom Ford, Director of DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation & Conservation. “Projects like this are made possible through collaborative efforts and we are grateful to our partners, the City of Pittsburgh, The League and KABOOM! for prioritizing recreation opportunities that align with DCNR’s mission. I cannot stress enough how important The League’s work is to help expand access to local parks and recreation opportunities in Pennsylvania’s urban areas.”
Duquesne Light President and CEO Kevin Walker said: “Our support for this exciting playground build is grounded in our belief that equal access to opportunity and resources plays an important role in the long-term health of our region. We’re proud to support the creation of safe, public spaces by doing more than keeping the lights on, including through charitable giving and volunteerism.”
“Encouraging play and physical activity is vital to the overall health of the youth of our community, and what better way to do so than to provide a new, vibrant playground in the heart of Pittsburgh,” shared Dan Onorato, executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer for Highmark Health. “Highmark Bright Blue Futures is proud to be a part of the annual Pennsylvania Municipal League playground build. We believe this new community asset will contribute to healthier, brighter and stronger futures for the visitors of West Penn Park.”
This playground build was planned to kick off the Municipal Leadership Summit, a convening of elected and appointed municipal officials from across the state, taking place at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh this week, October 6-9.
To ensure that playgrounds are able to open safely in every community, KABOOM! has issued important playground guidance that all communities, playground owner/operators and caregivers can follow. The guidance can be viewed or downloaded at kaboom.org/reopen.
About Pennsylvania Municipal League
The mission of the Pennsylvania Municipal League (The League) is to strengthen, empower and advocate for effective local government. The League is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1900 as an advocate for Pennsylvania’s 3rd class cities. Today, The League represents Pennsylvania cities, boroughs, townships, home rule communities and towns that all share their municipal policy interests. The Board of Directors oversees the administration of a wide array of municipal services including legislative advocacy, publications, education/training, consulting-based programs, and group insurance trusts. For more information, please visit PML.org. Join the conversation on Twitter @PAMunicipalLeag and facebook.com/PaMunicipalLeague, #StrengthThroughEngagement, #MunicipalLeadershipSummit2022.
KABOOM! is the national nonprofit committed to ending playspace inequity – the reality that quality places to play are not available to every child, especially in communities of color. Since 1996, KABOOM! has partnered with kids and communities to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces and ensure that nearly 12 million kids have equitable access to the crucial benefits and opportunities that playspaces offer. In 2022, KABOOM! launched the 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity, the $250 million plan to accelerate its mission in 25 high-priority locations over five years. Learn more at kaboom.org or join the conversation on Twitter @kaboom, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.