Church Calls On Community to Help Speed-Build Neighborhood Playground in Just One Day

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By BRANDON VILLALOVOS

5:49 am | April 12, 2018


Pasadena’s Foursquare Church is wasting no time in their efforts to construct a brand new playground on site at 174 Harkness Avenue on Thursday, where an estimated 150 community members are needed to help build out the new play area that will feature a zip line, rock wall, water features and more in just a matter of hours.

The project, known as Wally’s Playground, pays homage to the recently passed away long-time church member Florence Wallace, whose financial donations made to the church are being used to fund a portion of the construction process.

“Thursday is the big day and basically everybody’s going to be coming out, we’ll be mixing concrete, we’ll be drilling, we’ll be digging,” said Foursquare Church Pastor Brita Pinkston. “It’s a one-day build and it’s insane.”

174-harkness-ave2The idea for Wally’s Playground was conceptualized just over a year ago and quickly took shape in recent months.

The roughly 2,500 square foot piece of land on the church’s property located at 174 Harkness Ave. and will be open to the public once completed.

“What we’re doing is taking and converting some land that we have to be a privately owned publicly shared space. It will be an open space, a little pocket playground for the kids of this neighborhood,” said Pinkston.

According to Pinkston, the playground is an answer to a lack of open spaces for children in the central area of the City.

“Pasadena’s in a crisis for that kind of open space and realizing that we have about a mile away from a park, you have to cross another freeway to get to a park and this particular area is very un-kid friendly and un-kid safe,” said Pinkston who is a 20 year resident on Harkness street.

Wally’s Playground was inspired by former church member Florence Wallace who passed away a few years ago and donated money to the church with the mission to help children.

“Her donation was the seedling that made it possible and this is meant to be for her legacy,” said Pinkston.

“We felt that the money she gave to us was something that we wanted to give back so we are using our portion of it that she gave and in her honor to care for the children of this area,” Pinkston added.

Foursquare Church is a part of Collaborate Pasadena which is a supportive framework of the Pasadena Unified School District and the City of Pasadena made up of individuals, organizations, and businesses dedicated to improving the lives of children and families.

Through the collective impact model Collaborate Pasadena uses, Foursquare Church was able to successfully pull together resources to help share the vision for the project on a larger scale.

“I think it’s a good model just to recognize you don’t need huge amounts of land, but whatever you have, you actually can convert it to do something that’s going to impact the other people,” added Pinkston.

Church staff was then able to secure a grant from KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

Through this process, local children were able to workshop their ideas and features that would be in their dream playground and adults fine-tuned the ideas into actual project plans.

The playground will include two sections, one more suitable for children ages five to eleven and then another section for ages two to five and will feature a mini zip line, spinning rope climb, a rock wall, and more. It is also ADA accessible.

“There’s a lot of features that are going to provide not only kids to come and connect, but then they have these little places where kids need to have their own little space,” said Pinkston.

Volunteers have already begun to do prep work on the playground as they ready for Thursday’s community build day.

“We’ve done a lot of different community things, but of course on this scale, we pull people together and do this is a really exciting and unique thing for us. Our greatest resource is the people in this ity and I believe in this city,” said Pinkston.

The public is invited to help Pasadena Foursquare Church Build Wally’s Playground on Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. located at 174 Harkness Ave.

To register for Build Day and to donate, go to www.wallysplayground.com.