Big fun for kids in Maywood

In suburban Maywood, playgrounds aren’t just for funùthey are part of the community’s strategy for keeping kids out of trouble. On June 18, more than 300 volunteers gathered at the Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview District 89 building to erect Maywood’s 11t

“We’re short of recreational opportunities here, especially for the younger children. We always tell kids to stay out the street and stay out of trouble, but you got to give them things to do,” said Grady Rivers Jr., school board president of District 89. “I imagine people out here on Sunday afternoons playing football and soccer.

We have picnic benches, and there’s plenty of seats for people to congregate and have a good time.” The playground has been in the works for several weeks; KaBOOM! worked with neighborhood kids to design it and organized volunteers from the school district, park district and the Chicagoland Chrysler Corporation to build it. Chrysler sponsored the event. “It’s kind of like (the reality TV show) Extreme Makeover, (the volunteers) have a team leader and know exactly what they’re going to be doing.

When we’re ready to build, it just comes together like a well-oiled machine,” said KaBOOM! Project Manager Christine Feller. Ten-year-old Jessica Williams, who helped design the playground, was one of many kids who came out to help assemble bright yellow, green and orange plastic pieces.

She said the playground is much closer to her house than others she usually goes to. “I used to play in 9th park and any other park in Maywood because they were the only parks I could play in before they built this one,” she said, “Now I can play here. This is closer.”

Leila Noelliste can be reached via e-mail at

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