July 20, 2010

Build a playground, fight crime

Braddock, PennsylvaniaNo one can deny that John Fetterman has his work cut out for him. He is mayor of Braddock, Penn., a town that has lost 85 percent of its residents since the collapse of the American steel industry a few decades ago. So what’s on the mind of the mayor of a state-classified “distressed municipality?"

Playgrounds.

During the recent Aspen Ideas Festival, The Atlantic Monthly sat down with Fetterman to talk about his ideas for saving this small town. One priority, Fetterman emphasized, is “bringing basic amenities to the town like opening playgrounds, like basketball courts, recreation.”

He goes on to say, “When you consider 2005, our playgrounds were closed, we had no recreational facilities, and unemployment among young people during the summer was two-thirds, three-fourths. So that’s the perfect recipe for all kinds of bad and negative outcomes.”

As Fetterman knows, playgrounds are not just about creating a place to play. They are about bringing neighborhoods together, fighting crime, and improving community health. We’re proud to play a small part in Braddock’s revitalization by partnering with The Home Depot Foundation and Heritage Community Initiatives to build a playground there in September.

In the meantime, here’s more from Fetterman:

See this video in its original context on theatlantic.com.

Photo by Hryck. (cc).

the buzz in play, mayor, braddock, aspen ideas festival, pennsylvania