Police, volunteers build playground in Ferguson - KMOV.com

Police, volunteers build playground in Ferguson

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Rendering of the 'Play 4 All' playground in Ferguson (Credit: Play 4 All) Rendering of the 'Play 4 All' playground in Ferguson (Credit: Play 4 All)
FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

The police officers who responded to the unrest in Ferguson are working to show the community they want to move forward together. On Thursday, they are teaming up with community leaders and volunteers to build a playground.

The equipment will turn the empty space behind the Ferguson Community Center into a gathering place for families to enjoy.

Victoria Babb, director of the "Play 4 All" campaign, came up with the idea and reached out to the Fraternal Order of Police and Shield of Hope to get them involved.

"Regardless of who you are and what you are doing, or have or don't have, play is something everyone can identify with and everyone needs and wants," said Babb, who grew up in the Ferguson-Florissant area.

In just days, they came up with the $30,000 to get the project going. Babb said she was inspired by what the groups and city did to make the project quickly come to fruition.

"I think a lot of eyes are on Ferguson these days and they are really taking stand on ok we know we have our differences, let's work together to do it and let's cut out that red tape in order to make it happen."

Ferguson's mayor James Knowles said he was excited when he was approached with the idea.       

"We've talked for the past two years about the divisions out there," said Knowles.  "This is really more than just a symbol. This is a really great example of community coming together, especially the youth and law enforcement."

At the heart of the project is getting police officers involved in the everyday lives of kids, instead of only being seen when something bad happens. So, police will have a big role in putting together the equipment.

"There is no better way to build relationships than police officers and kids working together," said Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss. "Those are great future relationships that bode well for the community."

The playground is the pilot project for a program within Play 4 All called "Healing Communities through Play." The goal is to get police departments working with kids in the community. If it works in Ferguson, they hope to take it to other cities across the nation.

"The fact that we can bring people together to bring a playground, which is so universal and so neutral, to a community that may have been divided as in the case of Ferguson, and I thought what better way for people to come together than for children," said Babb.

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