Maplewood Children Have New, Safe Place to Play

September 30, 2005

Children visiting Maplewood Park in the City of Rochester have new, safer playground equipment. The Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Rochester, in Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong joined forces with parents, the Maplewood Neighborhood Association (MNA), and the City of Rochester to secure a $60,000 Little Hands Allstate Foundation national grant to build a new structure.

The new playground will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, in a brief ceremony that will include remarks from Mayor William A. Johnson Jr., a vocal performances by preschoolers, visits from Golisano Children’s Hospital mascot Sandy Strong and Red Wings mascot Spikes and activities for children.

“As a parent of young children I am happy to be instrumental in making this happen,” said Allstate agency owner Sam Mazzola. “Both my company and I are committed to safety, preventing injuries, and neighborhood revitalization.”

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

The new Maplewood Park playground is geared toward 2- to 5-year-olds. Playground designers believe the age-appropriate equipment will help to reduce injuries to the day care center children and preschoolers who often come to play at the park.

With the help the City of Rochester, volunteers from the Maplewood Neighborhood Association, the Injury Free Coalition for Kids and the Allstate Foundation built the playground Sept. 24. An additional grant of $10,000 from the Regional Allstate Foundation office will go toward maintenance of the playground. This playground is one of six nationwide that the Allstate Foundation is helping to build.

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 playground served the community well, but its construction of pressure-treated lumber no longer meets current standards.

“We are sincerely thankful for the collaborative effort of the IFCK, Allstate and the City of Rochester,” said Cindy Kaleh, president of the Maplewood Neighborhood Association. “The Maplewood neighborhood takes great pride in providing a safe playground for our children as well as the many children who visit from the surrounding area.”

The dedication of the new playground ends Phase I of the Maplewood Neighborhood Association’s Playground 2006 initiative. The MNA’s Playground Phase II 2006-2007 goal is $100,000 for a playground suitable for children ages 5 to 12. Additionally, Phase III will be an adult Fitness trail located on the perimeter of the park. Donations for Phase II should be sent to MNA, P.O. Box 13529, Rochester, N.Y., 14613.

The dedication location is Lower Maplewood Park just off Maplewood Avenue, north of the Memorial Bridge.

About the Injury Free Coalition for Kids

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids (Injury Free) is a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation located at Columbia University’s Mailman School of public health in NYC.  It is one of the country’s fastest growing most effective national injury-prevention programs. 

About The Allstate Foundation

Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation. The Allstate Foundation sponsors community initiatives to promote “safe and vital communities”; “tolerance, inclusion, and diversity”; and “economic empowerment”. The Allstate Foundation believes in the financial potential of every individual and in helping America's families achieve their American dream.

For additional information about child safety, please call Injury Free Coalition for Kids at (585) 275-9748 or visit www.injury-free.org.

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