KABOOM! and Partners Launch Green Playground Initiative in Walker County, Texas Link copied!

March 7, 2022

Washington D.C.

Today, KABOOM!, the national nonprofit committed to ending playspace inequity for good, announced a new initiative in Walker County, Texas to support child health and environmental resilience through a series of green playground projects. The initiative will be led in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Walker County (BGCWC), City of Huntsville, and Huntsville Independent School District (HISD) and is made possible through a $1.5 million grant from Powell Foundation. The two-year effort will develop public playspaces for children and families.

The disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the critical importance of safe, engaging playspaces for children to develop and thrive. This need is particularly urgent as communities grapple with the ongoing impact of the pandemic on their residents’ well-being.

“The Powell Foundation is thrilled to support the creation of accessible public spaces where Huntsville children and families can connect, learn, and play,” said Eleisha Nelson-Reed, Executive Director of the Powell Foundation. “We are especially pleased that this project represents a collaborative effort involving local Walker County partners and community members, those who can best give voice to the Huntsville community’s most pressing needs.”

“Boys & Girls Club is so grateful for this partnership that allows us to continue to build resources at our Clubhouse for fulfilling our mission,” said Michelle Spencer, CEO of BGCWC. “With all the challenges that families have faced during this pandemic, giving our children opportunities to get outside, play, and just be kids is a top priority.”

Over the next several months, the initiative will engage local community members to conduct in-depth surveys and focus groups to generate environmentally and culturally appropriate designs for each playspace. Uniquely, the effort will incorporate sustainable design elements like spaces for environmental education, the planting of sustainable, native plants and features to improve stormwater management on site. Each project will culminate in the community-led installation of the playspace.

“The City of Huntsville is proud to work with our local partners to provide these additional recreation opportunities for our citizens,” said Aron Kulhavy, City Manager of Huntsville. “We are very thankful to the Powell foundation and KABOOM! for their investment and partnership in our community.”

“We appreciate being included in this partnership that will bring new playspaces to each of our four elementary schools in Walker County,” said William Roberts, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services and Operations of HISD. “In May of 2021, HISD voters overwhelmingly approved a school bond that will bring much needed upgrades to facilities across the school district. This opportunity comes at just the right time and aligns perfectly with our district goal to provide improved learning environments for the children of Huntsville ISD.”

In addition, two unique partners will support the sustainable goals this project. Falon Mihalic, Landscape Architect at Falon Land Studio, will design environmentally resilient elements for each playspace. Trees for Houston will also provide their expertise and planting of sustainable, native trees that will beautify each playground and community.

Locations for the new playspaces will include:

  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Eastham-Thomason Park
  • Emancipation Park
  • Huntsville Elementary School
  • Samuel W Houston Elementary School
  • Estella Stewart Elementary School