Community faces new hurdle in getting dream playground built

Community works around hurdle to build playgroud
Posted at 6:42 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 18:42:35-05

After nearly a decade of planning, more than 1,000 kids around Seminole Heights will get the playground they’ve been waiting for, that is, if parents can get across one major hurdle.

Members of the Tampa Gymnastics and Booster club made it a goal to raise enough money on their own, without city help, to build playground just feet away from the Wayne C. Papy Athletic Center where their children take gymnastics and dance lessons.

They’ve raised the $36,000 they need to build it, but city leaders said they must also build a fence around the playground for safety reasons.

“We're so close but we're still so far,” said Jenny Shimmel, who’s a part of the fundraising team.

They understand why they need the fence, but now, are faced with a new challenge: one of their major grants will expire in just a few weeks.

"I said," said Kristin Burdette, another parent involved with the project,"I can't give up."

Burdette set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the project.

So far, they've made more than $1,000.

"This is a neighborhood effort," said Burdette.

While there is a city playground near the complex, Shimmel and Burdette say it's too far to let their kids go play while they watch their other children take lessons.

It's also near a very busy intersection, with only a metal fence blocking the children from the steady traffic. 

"My kids would play here all day in between classes if it was an option," said Shimmel.

Burdette hoped they would break ground on the new playground, set to be built at an  old baseball field, within the next few months, however now, it make take a bit longer.

"This is going to happen," said Shimmel.

Whether they get the money or not, they plan to continue raising money to build the playground.

"If a community comes together and they want to make something happen," said Burdette, "they can make it happen."