Golisano Children’s Hospital teams up with City of Rochester and Maplewood Neighborhood Association to build new playground

May 18, 2005

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids, based out of the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, has been awarded a $60,000 Little Hands Allstate Foundation grant with the help of the Maplewood Neighborhood Association and the City of Rochester. The money will go toward building a young children’s playground in Maplewood Park. An additional grant of $10,000 from the Regional Allstate office will go toward maintenance of the new playground.

The grant, which aims to build safe playgrounds in communities across the country, will enable the community to build a new playground in Maplewood Park in the fall. The playground will be geared toward 2- to 5-year-olds in an effort to reduce injuries by making available developmentally appropriate equipment to an area frequented by day care centers and preschools.

“Unintentional injuries are the No. 1 cause of death and disability of children under the age of 18. Once they get to the Emergency Department, there is a limit to what we can do,” said Anne Brayer, M.D., assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine with the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong and co-director of the Rochester chapter of Injury Free Coalition for Kids. “It’s far better to prevent injuries in the first place.”

Fifteen years ago, the Maplewood Neighborhood Association built a very popular wooden playground in the park with the help of 1,300 dedicated youth and adult volunteers and countless donors. The Maplewood Playground, commonly referred to as the “Castle,” became an integral asset to the Maplewood Neighborhood and continues to serve thousands of children and their families annually from the surrounding neighborhoods and suburban towns.  The playground has served the community well, but its construction of pressure-treated lumber doesn’t meet current standards.

The grant gives the community the opportunity to deconstruct the original playground and build a new young children’s playground with the help of the City of Rochester as Phase I of the Maplewood Playground 2006 initiative.  Phase II will begin in the fall with fundraising efforts for the construction of a new playground for older children.

Maplewood has always shown enthusiastic support for projects that promote this great neighborhood and the city. We built the playground and have maintained it and in doing so brought new life to a seldom used park space,” said Cindy Kaleh, president of the Maplewood Neighborhood Association. “We are banking on the same excitement and support our neighborhood showed when building the first playground to be even greater for the new initiative. This new build will be another opportunity to strengthen the bonds from neighbor to neighbor and across generations as we come together to build for our children's future.

The playground project is an example of what the community can do when organizations collaborate for a common cause. The Injury Free Coalition for Kids, the City of Rochester and the Maplewood Neighborhood Association worked together to secure the grant funding from Allstate and community volunteers will build the playground.

“As community challenges outpace budgets, this collaboration among the Injury Free Coalition, Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong and the Maplewood Neighborhood Association to renovate a vital City recreational resource has produced the kind of necessary synergy only creative partnerships can offer. Thank you for your commitment to our youth, Rochester's future,” said Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr.

For Media Inquiries:
Heather Hare
(585) 273-2840
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