Friends in the news

200 volunteers build Sweet Street playground in Creston Neighborhood

By Erin Albanese | The Grand Rapids Press

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Paul L. Newby II | The Grand Rapids Press
Amway President Doug DeVos holds the paper ribbon as a host of Creston Neighborhood kids cut the ribbon on the new playground equipment at Sweet Street Park.

GRAND RAPIDS -- For 11-year-old Domonique and nine-year-old Ayana Robinson, the tire swings and rock-climbing wall are what's most inviting about the new Sweet Street playground.
For five-year-old Aubrey Prevost, it's the monkey bars.
But seven-year-old Sean Prevost eyed it all with eager excitement.
"I like everything!," he said.
About 200 volunteers assembled the playground equipment, laid mulch, and installed benches and picnic tables Friday to create the new play area in the pocket park at Sweet Street and College Avenue NE, nestled on a hill behind Creston High School.
The disabled-accessible, brightly-colored playground, surrounded by a hopscotch area and newly-resurfaced basketball courts, opens Monday.
The project was a partnership between Ada Township-basewd Amway Corp., the Creston Neighborhood Association, the city and Washington, D.C-based nonprofit Kaboom!
Amway donated an undisclosed amount, with the neighborhood association contributing $7,500 and Kaboom! giving a $50,000 grant.
Sweet Street is the seventh community playground built through the Amway-Kaboom! partnership, officials said
"It made me feel so much pride that this neighborhood got together to and did this," said Carol Brugger, a receptionist for the neighborhood association who volunteered to build the playground.
"This is phenomenal."
The association and the city worked for about three years to upgrade the playground, which had equipment from the 1970s.
The old equpment at the playground, adjacent to the Creston High tennis courts, had been installed in 1972. The Grand Rapids school district two years ago told neighbors it wanted to remove the playground equipment because it no longer met safety codes.
In July, the school board transferred ownership of the half-acre park to the city.
A design session for the playground with 50 families, including about 25 children, took place July 31.
Domonique and Ayana took part with their parents, Dave and Belinda Robinson.
"It's actually better than what I envisioned," said Belinda.
"The kids will have a lot of fun."
Domonique said: "I'm excited for a nice playground to be here because it used to be all cement."
The park is a "neighborhood jewel," said Deborah Eid, the association's executive director.
"This is really the place where families come to watch the sunset," she said. "It's a big attraction for people to come and buy a home in this neighborhood, that had so much community support,."
Carrie Hill said she plans to frequent the park daily with her husband, Bill, and their children Elliott, 3 and Lucy, 1.
"We live a block and a half away and (Elliott) has been asking about the new playground for the last month," she said.
"It's so bright here. It's a huge improvement, great curb appeal."
Amway CEO Doug DeVos said it was a thrill to support the project.
"I'm sure it will be enjoyed by children and their families for years to come," he said.

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