Over a dozen football players from the New England Patriots, including Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins, will help build a new playground at a Waltham housing development on Tuesday as part of a community effort, the organization announced today.
"It's small, and we've decided it's not in a safe area," said Kate McGuire, family housing manager at the Waltham Housing Authority. "We’re hoping the new playground will allow us to bring the community together and give them a central meeting place."
The new playground will feature a full swing set, a tree house, a rock wall, monkey bars, slides, picnic tables and benches, and a garden, among many other play elements, McGuire said.
The final design and elements were decided upon after dozens of local children participated in a playground design day, where they sketched out plans for their dream playground.
"The community can now have cookouts there, and parents can use the space for parties," McGuire said, noting that the facility will be open to the public. "It's a huge playground so we're very lucky."
The playground build will be overseen by national nonprofit KaBOOM!, which is dedicated to building play spaces for American children, and UnitedHealthcare as part of the company's “Do Good, Live Well” employee-volunteer initiative.
Volunteers from Brandeis and Bentley universities have also helped organize the build, and the city of Waltham has donated a $100,000 community development grant to the project, according to a Bentley statement.
Over a dozen Patriots players will attend, and another dozen or so Revolution soccer players will also volunteer.
The new playground is also reportedly part of a new community center slated to open this fall at the development, which will feature after-school tutoring and workshops on computer programming. Residents will also be able to work on their fitness and health, receive resume writing help, and get job skills training, according to the Bentley statement.
This is the second time in recent memory that KaBOOM!, UnitedHealthcare and the Patriots have pitched in to construct a Waltham playground. In 2010, the organizations helped to build a new 2,000 square-foot play site at Waltham's Boys and Girls Club. Local celebrities like Donnie Wahlberg and Tom Brady were seen pitching in at the October event.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org