A New Place to Play

Children in one part of the Electric City will soon have a new place to play thanks to some persistent college students.

A popular neighborhood center in west Scranton is breaking ground an a brand new playground that hundreds of children will be able to use.

The now empty play area at United Neighborhood Center’s Bellevue Center in west Scranton became a blank canvas for the youngsters full of possibilities for their new playground.

“A couple of monkey bars, and one of those big slides that goes all the way around. I was thinking of one of those,” said eight-year-old Isabella Deflice.

The children helped officials from United Neighborhood Centers and students from the University of Scranton break ground at the Bellevue Center. A brand new, and much-needed playground will be built there this summer.

For more than 20 years, the Bellevue Center has served hundreds of children ages three to 18, and until now, they have only had basic toys and a patch of grass to play on.

“As you can see they don’t have any equipment, and we’re really excited to give these kids a place to play this summer,” said Kaitlin Dolan of University of Scranton.

She has taken the project on and it almost didn’t get this far. The group was turned down for grants three times before winning $2,000 from Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores.

“Right now it’s just a flat play surface, and we are going to be getting a few riding implements for them and a basketball toss,” said Michael McHale of United Neighbor Centers.

The playground plans could expand. United Neighborhood Centers is also in the running for a $5,000 grant that would buy even more equipment for the center’s long-needed improvements for playtime, according to the experts.

“Now when you’re an older kid it’s kind of boring,” Isabella Deflice added.

“Yeah, they’ll probably have a blast,” said Isabella Covert.

The playground in west Scranton will be ready to go some time this summer.

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