A new playground was built at Creekside Place Apartments thanks to a partnership between Unison, LIFE, KaBOOM!, and Finish Line Youth Foundation. Volunteers from each organization, law enforcement, First Bank, and CHFA assembled the playground and accompanying shade structures. Read more in an article from the Westminster Window. Photo credit: Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post
It takes 200 volunteers, plus some donated money, to transform spaces between apartment buildings into a community playground for kids.
Volunteers from Finish Line Youth Foundation, the Low Income Family Empowerment project and the Thornton Police joined workers from Unison Housing Partners, the former Adams County Housing Authority, Sept. 20 to make the Creekside Place complex more kid-friendly.
Volunteers carted around wood chip mulch, erected swing sets and installed playground equipment all in an effort to bring some new life to the affordable housing complex at 92 and Gale Boulevard.
The new playgrounds — as well as several gazebos around the buildings, will serve the estimated 300 kids that live in the complex as well as Adams County kids that attend Headstart there.
“It’s one of the biggest of the 13 communities we operate and it has the most children,” Community Services Director Arrah Gallaher said.
It’s the culmination of a two-year project that began with applying for a grant from KaBOOM.org, said Unison Executive Director Pete Lifari. Kaboom is a non-profit group that promotes activity and play for children around the country, particularly those living in poverty.
“It’s been a two-year journey, but here we are,” he said. “We are putting up sunshades, painting hopscotch murals and other murals on the sidewalks. We’re doing all this great stuff.”
Work began in 2016, when Unison was still known as the Adams County Housing Authority. The group manages 13 housing complex across the county with more than 3,000 affordable housing units.
The group applied for a grant through Kaboom.org, which also offers the Playful City USA designation.
“We try to recognize what cities do to put kids first,” said Cristina Perez, Kaboom Project Manager. “Studies have shown that play is really important to the development of childhood and you need to make sure kids have safe places to play. So we want to build in areas where there might not be playgrounds or might not be room for playgrounds.”
Adams County won the grant to build the Creekside playground and was paired with Finish Line Youth Foundation, who paid for the work.
When the Adams County group learned they’d won the grant, they went right to the experts — the kids themselves. The group met with the kids that would be using the playground to find out what they wanted.
“The only playground we had was a little one and that was for pre-school kids and Head Start,” Perez said. “That was in July. We had like 50 kids and they drew their ideas and designed the playground and that’s what we’re building today.