Volunteers take one day to turn a vacant lot into a playground

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kids helped design it and on Thursday, adults built it. In the end, the kids and their families are the ones who will benefit from the new playground built in a single day.

The effort started on Thursday morning with about 200 volunteers from Carmax and the YMCA pitching in. By the end of the day, what had been open space next to the YMCA at 86th and Parallel, was more than 43,000 square feet of playground.

Organizers say that only one of five kids lives within walking distance of a park or playground, and the opportunity to do something about that in this part of KCK is what brought the volunteers out.

“I'm just looking forward to kids, friends, family come out here being active and being healthy,” YMCA volunteer Saide Birchard said.

Thursday’s one-day playground push is part of a nationwide effort sponsored by a non-profit organization called "KaBOOM" and Carmax.

“So we feel if we can take the time to build something really great and inspire kids to want to go outside, and hopefully get their parents to join them, I think that creates a healthier lifestyle,” Bill Myers, Carmax regional vice president, said.

The YMCA estimates that up to 5,000 kids will be able to take advantage of the playground. Kids will get their first official chance to try out the new playground on Friday night when the YMCA hosts a Halloween party.

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