Bensenville Park District, Discover and KABOOM! unveil kid-designed playspace at Arbor Park in Wood Dale

Community joins forces with nonprofit to advance playspace equity

Board President Rich Johnson–flanked by board members Val Karg, Nancy Gibbs, Chris Hernandez and Jay Snyder–along with volunteers from Discover and the Chicago Cougars, cuts the ribbon at the end of KABOOM! Build Day, the culmination of years of work to install a playground at Wood Dale’s Arbor Park.

Today, kids at Arbor Park in Wood Dale are celebrating as the Bensenville Park District debuts a kid-designed, community-built playground. The months-long collaboration between Bensenville Park District, Discover, and KABOOM! culminated this week as more than 100 volunteers built the new playspace that will spark joy and foster a sense of belonging for kids each year in Wood Dale

The new playground was a collaborative effort by community members, including kids, who presented creative ideas for their dream playground during a design day in June 2023.

“This part of Wood Dale was without an adequate playspace, and that was among the first things I heard from residents when I first started here,” said Bensenville Park District Executive Director Joseph C. Vallez, “We made a promise to the residents of this area that we would build a safe place for children to play in their neighborhood. Now, with their help and the help of the many volunteers and partners, they have a playspace they can be proud of.”

Playing is the essence of childhood and is a critical developmental need that provides countless physical, social, and mental health benefits. However, far too many children, especially in communities of color, do not have a place to play near where they live or learn. KABOOM! is working to end playspace inequity, ensuring that kids have access to quality places to play, something that should be part of every child’s life. The new playground in Arbor Park designed with the neighborhood’s unique needs and aspirations in mind, brings Wood Dale one step closer toward ending playspace inequity and ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to experience the joys and benefits of play.

“Playgrounds are an iconic part of childhood. They’re not only where kids collect some of their best memories, but also where crucial skills are developed that nurture their physical, mental, and emotional well-being,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “KABOOM! is thrilled to work with our partners to bring to life the new playspace at Arbor Park and ensure that kids in Wood Dale have a place designed just for them, where they can play, learn, and unlock their greatest potential.”

Discover has provided support for the new playground through its partnership with KABOOM!, furthering its commitment to ending playspace inequity. 

“At Discover, we believe everyone should have access to a bright future. This starts by empowering our youth, providing opportunities for imaginative ideas, problem solving and building strong connections. Partnering with KABOOM! and the Bensenville Park District not only provides our employees a way to give back to their local communities but provides children a safe place to be themselves. We are excited to bring this playground to life and provide the community with a place to gather for years to come,” said Alyse Perkowitz, Senior Manager Community Affairs, Discover.

A grand opening celebration is planned at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 16, at Arbor Park, 475 E. Potter St., Wood Dale.

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