March 21, 2009

New Israeli playspace is reinforced against rockets

It's sad to think such things are necessary anywhere in the world, but when we talk about kids having a safe place to play, sometimes that means the protection of reinforced steel walls.

That's what Stanley M. Chesley, president of the Jewish National Fund, realized when he visited Israel last year. It was too dangerous for kids to play outside amidst the violent conflict, so he set off to build an indoor park for them. According to the New York Times article:

That is how a 21,000-square-foot bunker of a recreation center was born and came to be inaugurated this week in the industrial sector of this city. It has a small indoor soccer field, video games, fun-house mirrors, a climbing wall, rooms for birthday celebrations and $1.5 million worth of reinforced steel.

..

Although not every part of the roof is protected against rockets, the building has many reinforced areas that double as functional spaces, including the soccer field and a computer room. When a rocket is launched, a siren sounds to give residents 15 seconds to take shelter, making it easy for those inside the center to move to the reinforced parts.

It's simultaneously heartbreaking to hear such precautions are necessary and heartening to hear that in the midst of a long, violent conflict, people still consider play an important part of children's lives.

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