Volunteers build new east Tampa playground in 6 hours

In just six hours on Saturday, volunteers built a new play space, equipped with a playground, park benches and games, at Fair Oaks Park Community Center, 5019 North 34th Street.

The equipment was donated by Kaboom, a national nonprofit that provides playgrounds to ensure children have a place to just be kids.

A large number of volunteers came from Bank of America in Tampa and Gerdau, both sponsoring organizations.

Others from the community, such as the Plant High School football team, volunteered to shovel mulch, assemble the playground, and assist with clean up efforts.

"We're teaching these guys to go from boys to young men," said Hank Brown, defensive lineman coach for Plant High School. He said it's important for all children to have a safe place to grow together.

"This is where it all starts, for all the kids. Everybody comes out, ends up on a playground, learns how to play and interact with each other," added Brown.

City Council Chairman Frank Reddick and Mayor Bob Buckhorn stopped by the event to thank volunteers. Buckhorn said when children do not have a place to play, it can have a lasting impact on their lives and the community.

"There are a lot of folks out on the street who don't have good intentions, and we want those kids to be in facilities like this, under the direction of our Parks and Recreation personnel, in a safe environment," said Mayor Buckhorn.

The new playground is replacing rusty, outdated equipment. The design for the playground is based on drawings submitted by children back in September.

The playground will be open to the public on Sunday.