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Six hours later, a downtown Tampa playground could emerge

DOWNTOWN — Organizers hope that more than 200 volunteers will converge Saturday on a bare spot of land near the Nick Capitano Boys and Girls Club near downtown. When they leave at the end of the day, a playground could stand where before there was nothing more than dirt.

This collaborative construction effort is the result of a partnership between KaBOOM, the Boys and Girls Club and the MetLife Foundation. The project, which took weeks of planning, began Oct. 1 with a set of 20 designs. These early blueprints were not the strict plans of an architect drafted carefully in technical pencil, but the honest dreams of children scrawled in bright crayon.

"Every build we do is so unique because we base every playground we build on the drawings of those children involved," said Mike Vietti, communications manager for KaBOOM, a national nonprofit organization that has been pairing community leaders with funding partners since 1995.

The organization has assisted in building more than 1,500 playgrounds across the country with one simple vision in mind: a place to play within walking distance for every child.

The Tampa project is valued at $42,000. The majority of the funding comes from the MetLife Foundation, with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay contributing as well.

Volunteers will build the playground from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday. More are needed, and kids are welcome. Peanuts character Snoopy will "oversee" the process and entertain the children.

to help

Volunteers are needed to help build a playground from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday for kids in the community surrounding the Nick Capitano Boys and Girls Club, 1218 E Kay St.

To help with construction, volunteers must be at least 18, but teens 14 and older can help assemble playground components. Activities are planned for children 13 and younger, so that their parents can volunteer. For more information or to volunteer, contact Ricky Gallon at 769-7541.

Six hours later, a downtown Tampa playground could emerge 12/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, December 4, 2008 3:30am]
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