More than 200 volunteers toiled for a whole Saturday on Sept. 16 putting up slides, swings and climbing tubes to create a new playground in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. Triangle Park, adjacent to the 20-story Seward Tower West at Franklin and 26th avenues, is open to the whole neighborhood, although it belongs to the Tower. CommonBond Communities, the building’s manager and part-owner, initiated the idea to provide play space for the 73 children who live there.
KaBOOM! a Washington-D.C. based nonprofit agency that builds playgrounds across the country, agreed to tackle the project and brought in Opus Group real estate developers to buy the equipment. Opus employees also provided much of the volunteer labor, alongside neighborhood residents and staff from CommonBond.
Much of the 35-year-old tower, as well as its nearby twin, Seward Tower East, consists of subsidized units. About 80 percent of Seward West’s 430 residents are from East Africa, and CommonBond provides social services that include English classes, citizenship classes and homework tutoring on site. The average household income is $12,000 a year.
“The children needed a place to play, and this will be wonderful for them,” said Deb Lande, spokeswoman for CommonBond, which is the largest non-profit provider of affordable housing in Minnesota. It manages 4,000 apartments and townhouses for seniors, families and people with special needs.
KaBOOM! has built 1,000 playgrounds nationwide over the past 10 years, forming partnerships like this one. Last year, CommonBond and KaBOOM built a playground at Torres de San Miguel Homes in St. Paul, the year before at York-Dale Townhomes in Edina.
Opus Group officials said they love to build playgrounds and already have five more in the works in various states.