STEVE STEIN STAFF WRITER
mother watched as her young
d&ighters romped through a tot
lot, oblivious to the cool, cloudy
weather. Only the youngsters'
squeals of delight broke the
A few cars passed by, slowing
down so the occupants could
take a look at the new Burton
Community Park playground
in the heart of Huntington
Yes, the 14,000-square-foot
facility is now a reality. Two
years of planning, fund rais-
ing and organizing by residents,
city and school officials have pro-
duced a mecca for youngsters
next to Burton Elementary
An estimated 1,500 volunteers,
most from Huntington Woods,
donated their time, sweat and ex- .
pertise over a grueling five days
(May 11-15) to build the intricate
Food and child care were avail-
Bob Lockwood saws wood.
Adam White and Brian
Friedman do some raking.
i j Community
ty Park Committee, who
were at the playground
for 17 hours each of the
"It's hard to believe
we've done it," Ms.
Schwartz said. "I'm
numb. So many people
came up to me while we
were building and said
this is something every-
body needs to do. You
can't believe how good
you feel when you do
something like this."
Ms. Levinson agreed:
"For five days, it felt like
able for the workers. Most mate- we were all neighbors," she said.
rials were donated and tools were
Both women were amazed at
provided by the city, residents the enthusiasm shown by the vol-
and local businesses.
unteers. Many worked longer
Just after the May 15 dedica- than their scheduled shifts; some
tion ceremonies, which included even came back to do additional
the cutting of a ribbon of paper work. At times, there were more
butterflies drawn by children, volunteers than there were jobs
hundreds of youngsters de- to do.
scended on the playground to give
"People were pointing with
it a try.
pride to things they had built,"
The sight brought tears to the Ms. Levinson said. 'They were so
eyes of many, including Cindy into what they were doing."
Schwartz and Elise Levinson of
No serious injuries were re-
Huntington Woods, co-chair- ported at the site. Sinai Hospital
women of the Burton Communi- personnel had to pull out a few
my dream every day. rll bet a dif-
ferent memory will pop into my
head every time I look at the
The Ithaca, N.Y., architectur-
al firm of Robert S. Leathers and
Associates, which has coordinat-
ed the construction of more than
700 community-built play-
grounds, designed the Burton
Community Park facility with in-
put from city residents, including
children and senior citizens.
The playground replaces a pre-
vious play area which was re-
to make way for the new
pointing with pride moved
equipment. Drainage at the site
was improved by a contractor
to things they
hired by the city.
The Michigan Department of
Natural Resources provided a
They were so into
$100,000 grant for the project.
Fund raising by the Burton Com-
what they were
munity Park Committee, which
generated $70,000, and match-
ing money from the city raised
Elise Levinson the total to $240,000.
The playground is Phase I of
the project. Phase II, scheduled
Despite dire predictions of all-day to be completed around Sept. 1,
rains May 15, only scattered includes improvements in near-
by baseball and soccer fields, a
showers dampened the area.
"You know, we all have quarter-mile jogging track and
dreams, but rarely do we get a the planting of several trees. This
chance to do something about phase was added by the city
them," Ms. Levinson said. "I'll when state funding became avail-
have the opportunity to look at able. ❑
splinters, wash out eyes and re-
pair some scraped knees from
children at the child care center,
but that was it.
"When you consider there were
more than 400 people working
during the busy Friday night and
Saturday afternoon shifts, -plus
all the equipment and tools, it
was remarkable," Ms. Schwartz
Even the weather cooperated.