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Lyell Otis Children Have New, Safe Place to Play

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lyell Otis Neighborhood children in the City of Rochester have new, safer playground equipment at JP Riley Park. The Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Rochester, which is part of Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, joined forces with the Lyell Otis Neighborhood Association and the City of Rochester to secure a $60,000 Little Hands Allstate Foundation national grant to build a new structure.

The new playground, located at 130 Santee St., dedicated at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26, in a brief ceremony that included remarks from Charles Reaves, commissioner of Recreation and Youth services for the City of Rochester; Mike Visconte, president of the Lyell-Otis Neighborhood Association, and Anne Brayer, M.D., co-director of the Rochester chapter of Injury Free Coalition for Kids. Red Wings mascot Spikes and the grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren of the park’s namesake also attended.

“Tragically, each year over 200,000 children are treated for injuries sustained on playgrounds.  We think that’s too many,” said Mike Quataert, a Rochester Allstate agent. “Partnering with organizations like Injury Free Coalition for Kids to build safe playgrounds provides the Allstate Foundation with the opportunity to do something to change that statistic and give back to the community where we work and live at the same time.”

“One of the most inspiring parts of building this playground have been the children in the neighborhood,” said Brayer, who is also an associate professor of pediatric emergency medicine with the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Emergency Department. “They came first thing in the morning and stayed all day to help build this playground. In the end, that’s what really matters – that these children take ownership of this safe place to play so they don’t end up in our Emergency Department.”

The new JP Riley Park playground includes equipment for 2 to 12 year olds and a resurfaced basketball court with new hoop, pole and basket. The playground equipment that was removed earlier this month was, in many cases, older than the parents of the children who play there and did not meet current safety standards. The new equipment was chosen to draw the children into the park to play instead of in the streets, where they are more prone to injury.

With the help the City of Rochester, volunteers from the Lyell Otis neighborhood – including teens from Edgerton Community Center – the Injury Free Coalition for Kids and the Allstate Foundation built the playground July 14 and 15. An additional grant of $10,000 from the Regional Allstate Foundation office will go toward maintenance of the playground. This playground is one of five nationwide that the Allstate Foundation is helping to build this year.

“I played at this same playground as a child and have so many fond memories of the neighborhood,” said Mayor Robert J. Duffy. “I want to thank the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, the Allstate Foundation and the Lyell Otis Neighborhood Association for their collaboration with the City to bring a safe, new playground to our young people. I also want to thank the many volunteers who participated in this team project. I appreciate their commitment and look forward to continuing to work together to keep our children safe and build a better Rochester.”

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