On Saturday morning, construction will begin on a new playground in Homewood.
That same afternoon, according to KaBOOM! spokesman Mike Vietti, the playground will be ready to use.
“We’re going to start off with a kickoff ceremony at about 8:30 in the morning, and then by 2:30 in the afternoon, we’re going to wrap things up in time for a ribbon cutting ceremony,” he said. “So, start to finish, all in the span of about six or seven hours.”
KaBOOM! is a nonprofit that builds playgrounds for kids who don’t have easy access to them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent of children in the United States are obese. Vietti said this is one reason why getting children to play is especially important.
“There’s this notion among people that play among kids is a bit of a luxury,” he said. “But the reality is that play among children is an absolute necessity. Kids need to play actively every day at home, in school, and in their community, and that starts with children having access to a great place to play.”
More than 200 volunteers are expected to build the playground at the Homewood Children’s Village on 7227 Kelly St. Vietti said construction of the playground is being funded in large part by an $800,000 Heinz Endowments grant, which will also be used to build future playgrounds in the Pittsburgh region.
“We’re going to be bringing a whole lot more playgrounds to the Pittsburgh area in the next year,” he said.
Village spokeswoman Lisa Perry, who grew up in Homewood, said she wants kids to have a safe place to play like she had growing up.
“It was a time where, you know, you’d get your exercise just by running and playing,” she said. “Our children don’t get that opportunity here in Homewood much to just play, because our streets are just a little unsafe for young children. So to be able to provide this space is going to mean a lot to the community.”
Homewood children won’t just play there — they also designed the playground back in February.
“We bring children together from the neighborhood and from Homewood Children’s Village and give them huge sheets of paper and just say, ‘Draw your dream playground,” Vietti said. “And so the children spend time thinking about what they’d like to see on that playground that we’re eventually going to build on Saturday.”