Volunteers join together to make playground a reality in Clairton
Clairton's new recreation area exploded with activity Saturday as more than 100 volunteers built a KaBOOM! playground at the intersection of Division Avenue and N. Third Street.
Warm weather and bright sunshine accompanied crews as they mixed and poured 20,000 pounds of concrete, moved 160 cubic yards of mulch, installed swings, monkey bars, slides, benches and a replica fire truck for children to explore.
Children painted squares that will be used as part of a wall mural, and fashioned the links of a paper ribbon for the grand opening ceremony.
“It's really nice to see everybody coming together and helping out,” 11-year-old Alyssa Natter said. “This is going to be a real nice one, and I think everybody will enjoy it, from all kids of ages. It's really helpful to see this, and all the children will think that one day they'll do something like this. Probably the slides and the monkey bars are my two favorites.”
The former Third Street Playground, which the Clairton Volunteer Fire Department acquired from Clairton City School District about 12 years ago, had been used mostly for basketball.
Fire Chief John Lattanzi submitted an application for the playground when the city's first KaBOOM! playground was built in the Southside development along Reed Street several years ago.
“It makes me feel great,” Lattanzi said. “I've waited so long for this, We're more than a fire company. We do things for the community.”
Lattanzi said he is confident that neighborhood residents will take care of the new facility.
“They have children,” he said, “and they're happy to have this playground for the children. They said they will keep an eye on it.”
PJ Chonko, 12, who lives across from the new playground, said he enjoys the facility at Clairton Park playground but is happy to have one near his back yard.
“I'm going to be on this every chance I get because I'm like a monkey, completely,” PJ said. “I love doing all this kind of stuff. I think it's pretty cool that everyone's helping out. I'm glad Clairton's getting something new in here because I know we need some new stuff.”
Chat Licht, 7, and his sister Emma Licht, 5, said they participated by getting snacks for the workers and making crafts.
Lattanzi said the fire department will own and maintain the facility, but may consider transferring it to the city.
Lattanzi said the department plans to install security cameras.
“Folks are very excited for the transformation they see taking place here, not just for the park and the playground, but what it represents for the community,” KaBOOM! project manager Josh Carlson said. “We're hoping to transcend the idea of just building a playground. This is going to represent something much larger for the community, a safe place for kids in the neighborhood.”
School district superintendent Wayde Killmeyer said he envisions using the playground as a reward for younger students who do well in their classes.
“During the day it would be fairly empty except for very young kids who aren't in school,” Killmeyer said. “Even more than that, we have an obesity crisis our country. Having a place like this in the community where kids can play outside is just good mental health, good physical health, just all-around good for the community.”
Clairton Unity Group and the Heinz Endowments are among the project's sponsors.
KaBOOM! associate community outreach coordinator Sally Dorman said The Heinz Endowments committed to building 10 playgrounds in the Pittsburgh area in the next two years.
Dorman said Clairton spent $8,500 for materials.
Other contributors are United Rental Services, Mickey Plavchak Construction, Koppers, Giant Eagle, Shop ‘n Save, PNC Bank, U.S. Steel Corp., Terrace Gardens, Deejay John Williams, Masonic Lodge 714, Clairton Chamber of Commerce, Magisterial District Judge Armand A. Martin, Clairton public works and anonymous individuals.
Clairton EMS was on hand as a safety precaution, and also provided food.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport council considers amending adult business ordinance
- McKeesport man charged with sexually assaulting girl, 11
- Lincoln Way widening project behind schedule
- Coalition kicks off effort to revamp education funding
- Musical fundraiser carries across generations
- Mon Valley bridges moved up to rapid replacement list
- McKeesport crash sends motorcyclist to hospital
- ‘Porky’ of Operation Pork Chop case to enter plea
- McKeesport educator honored by nomination for Athena Award
- Elizabeth Township hires manager, assistant
- Steel Valley revamps website