At the center of that photo, joining a quick pre-construction stretch with 200+ other volunteers, is Betsy Hoffmeister, co-vice-chair of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council. About 15 minutes earlier, when we first saw her here at Delridge Community Center (where we’ll be on site much of the day), she shouted, “It’s really happening!” Before the playground-in-a-day volunteer project that has just kicked off here, she spent many months working through the difficult process of trying to get playground improvements at another Delridge park not far from here. Then came the KaBOOM’s offer to redo the community center’s dilapidated playground, and Betsy and other members of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council threw themselves into organizing what it took to make this work.
What it’s taking for one is volunteers – Mayor Nickels, seen here between two of those volunteers, told the crowd during the kickoff ceremony that he’ll announce later this month that his stated goal of 10,000 new Seattle volunteers this year has been met. (Also at the kickoff ceremony, city Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher, as we noted with photo links and short updates via Twitter.) And it’s taking donated materials – which are coming from a variety of sponsors, particularly the Bank of America Charitable Foundation (this is the 5th of KaBOOM’s 1,651 playground projects that it’s funded) – we passed the shovel/rake station as we arrived at the site:
Right now, the volunteers have broken into small groups, each with a KaBOOM leader and a mascot/symbol, from Hello Kitty to Elmo to, in this group’s case, the American flag:
Theyre engaging in all sorts of assembly and carpentry tasks, spread all over the parkland around the community center, before, sometime in the next six hours or so, everything moves to the site itself:
More photos shortly – we’ll post several updates during the day, and we’ll add a few video clips from the opening ceremony, too. 10:12 AM UPDATE: The small group work continues – with an energizing soundtrack :
The work zone is for ages 18 and up only, but there’s child care on the nearby tennis courts – and all the kids there have been issued their own little hard hats:
The groups will be taking lunch breaks in staggered shifts starting around 11:30. Part of the playground site itself is already starting to take shape! 11:07 AM UPDATE: Some more pix. First, the playground!
Second, pieces of the playground as they were moved into place:
Third, we haven’t mentioned that some other work is being done here today for the community center – like new cubbies:
They’ve also just put a call out around the site for people who write “languages other than Spanish, French and English” to go write messages of peace on a section that’s under construction. Anyway, we’re leaving the site for a while to go cover the Hi-Yu Junior Court Coronation and Hiawatha Fun Festival (it’s almost lunchtime for the volunteers, anyway) but will be back here in early afternoon for a new round of progress reports on Delridge’s new playground (which will officially open with a ceremony next Thursday night).