Building a better world for kids

Posted Monday, Mar. 17, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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They came from all walks of life and were of all ages. But the goal for the “Community Build” was the same.

To give kids a place to be kids.

By the time the volunteers and city staff were finished assembling playground equipment and sprucing up the place, Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange (GRACE) had a new play area at its main offices at 610 Shady Brook Drive.

The five hours it took was the culmination of years of hoping, praying, advocacy and planning, supporters said.

It began with the city and GRACE staff envisioning the value of a park in the area.

“Our Parks and Recreation map showed us the way,” Asst. City Manager Jennifer Hibbs said. “Although Grapevine provides many locations for children and families, none are in the area adjacent to the GRACE main office.”

Hibbs said that for many in the neighborhood, transportation to the next nearest park was a problem.

“Plus, sites like this help build community cohesiveness — families and neighbors getting to know each other and understanding better the struggles they share,” Hibbs said.

It was no small project. The playground involved demolition, rerouting infrastructure like utilities, moving earth and all the other tasks before the first slipper slide went in.

City workers did most of the “heavy lifting” in advance of the March 8 community build. Post holes were augured and structural piping cemented in place.

“The GRACE Playground is a place of joy, peace and fun, and reminds us every day that we are here to serve those in need and help guide them to a better place,” GRACE spokeswoman Jaqueline Hestersaid.

GRACE is a Grapevine-based non-profit relief agency that provides food, clothing, financial assistance and other vital necessities to people who are struggling with a limited income or recent emergency. The philosophy of GRACE is that encouraging self-sufficiency will, in turn, encourage community cohesiveness.

After the cement settled, the playground’s grand opening was held Friday. The event featured a ribbon cutting ceremony and blessing of the playground.

The occasion marked the kickoff of Feed Our Kids 2014 — a GRACE program that provides lunches for local area children during spring break and the summer weeks when they may otherwise not receive one.

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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