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Mayor Gray stays with his initiative to open 40 playgrounds for DC children

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In keeping his promise to the children of the District of Columbia, today Mayor Vincent C. Gray reached number 32 of the 40 playgrounds he vowed to open for DC children. Today Gray was joined by Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Interim Director Sharia Shanklin, Department of General Services (DGS) Director Brian Hanlon, ANC 7B05 Commissioner Robin Marlin and Hillcrest Community Civic Association (HCCA) President Karen Williams joined the Hillcrest community for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that opened the newly renovated Hillcrest playground, located at the Hillcrest Recreation Center on 3100 Denver St., SE. Children from the Anne Beers Elementary School also attended the ceremony today.

The Hillcrest playground is one of the 32 new play spaces originally designated for renovation under Gray's Play DC: Playground Improvement Initiative in 2013. For the new fiscal year, Gray added eight more playgrounds, bringing the total to 40; thus making Play DC the largest playground renovation project in the District's history. Gray is keeping his promise. The Hillcrest community, along with Ward 7 community members, attended community engagement and planning meetings with DPR and DGS to finalize the project.

“This renovated play space is a culmination of the collaborative efforts between DPR, DGS and the Hillcrest community," said DPR Interim Director Sharia Shanklin, Ed.D. "As we continue to work with communities across the District, Mayor Gray's Play DC: Playground Improvement Initiative continues to not only bring together the elements of play, environmental awareness and fitness, but it also ensures that every resident, including children, teens, adults and senior citizens, have a safe and inviting place to recreate outdoors," Shanklin said.

DPR says the Hillcrest Playground embraces a "green" theme with bamboo elements that match this community of rolling hills, lawns and gardens. New features to the playground include a bamboo-like spray park and splash pad, a Mobius® climber, a four-person "wee-saw," an eight-person swing set with ADA-accessible bucket seats, adult fitness equipment and walkway with mile markers, a new pebble-flex safety surface, a new community garden with garden shed, a new shade pavilion and a new bio-retention area.

The Department of Parks and Recreation currently operates 92 playgrounds in the District. As of today, the following 21 playgrounds have been renovated, and are now open to serve DC children:

· Ward 1 – Harrison, Banneker;

· Ward 2 – Volta Park;

· Ward 3 – Palisades, Macomb, Key Elementary School;

· Ward 4 – Raymond, Emery, Takoma, Hamilton, Fort Stevens, Upshur;

· Ward 5 – Noyes, Harry Thomas Sr., Brentwood;

· Ward 6 – Rosedale;

· Ward 7 – Neval Thomas Elementary School, Benning Park, Hillcrest;

· Ward 8 – Fort Stanton, Fort Greble.

Examiner.com has reported on the opening of each new playground. Those reports will continue until all 40 playgrounds are open to serve the children of the District of Columbia.

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