August 22, 2008

From empty lot in Norfolk to playground in one day

By Harry Minium
The Virginian-Pilot
Aug. 22, 2008

They came by the hundreds from across Hampton Roads to deliver a message to the criminals who for too long have ruled the streets of Denby Park: This will again be a safe place for kids to play.

More than 400 volunteers spent less than six hours Thursday building a playground, the first in this troubled Wards Corner neighborhood.

The new play area, once a vacant lot next to an apartment complex, is now replete with slides, a tire swing, rock climbing areas and benches.

"Shots have been fired at the houses across the street," said Bud Blanchard, 85, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1949. "People were crouched down in the houses to avoid the shooting."

Blanchard said he pleaded with city officials to rid the neighborhood of drugs before building the playground. He said they told him that the playground, combined with increased policing, will help drive crime away. [More]

kaboom! news, virginia, news clips, norfolk