The playground began as a seed, an idea that grew at each monthly neighborhood association meeting. The Blaine/Southeast Neighborhood Association formed only a few short years ago in 2011 under the direction of Clifford Clemmons. Supported by a small group of dedicated residents, the association worked with Ball State University urban planning students under the direction of faculty member Lisa Dunaway to develop a neighborhood action plan. The Blaine/Southeast Neighborhood Action plan, finalized in December 2014 provided key information that reinforced the neighbors’ belief that Blaine/Southeast lacked adequate play space for its youth. Located on the far east side of the city, the neighborhood sits removed from Muncie’s established parks and playgrounds.
Planning for the neighborhood playground began in earnest in winter 2014 after the association was successful in attaining a $15,000 KaBoom playground grant. A committee of residents worked diligently to find funding to match the KaBoom grant, to plan for the Community Build Day and to clear the overgrown field where the playground would eventually be built. With the efforts spearheaded by Clemmons and Isabelle Sowers, Muncie Action Plan Volunteer Coordinator, Spring and Summer 2015 were busy with fundraisers and cleanups leading up to the September 12th Build Day.
Build Day was attended by dozens of volunteers who successfully erected a portion of the playground, with the final construction occurring throughout the following few weeks. The October 16th ribbon cutting was well attended by residents, volunteers and city officials. Since October, the playground committee has continued to fundraise for the purchase of mulch and landscaping as well as other necessities like lighting and signage through their GoFundMe site. The Neighborhood Association understands that the playground is a community asset, but one that will require constant oversight and maintenance. Association members are committed to creating a play space that is well-loved and well-used by neighborhood children for years to come.