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Anne and Kirk Douglas Playground Opens in South L.A.




Nattily attired Kirk Douglas, age 93, and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa race one another down the dual slide during the June 30, 2010 grand opening of the Anne and Kirk Douglas Playground at the Gilbert Lindsay Community Center in South Los Angeles.
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"If we would have our citizens contented and law-abiding, we must not sow the seeds of discontent in childhood by denying children their birthright of play."--Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 26th U.S. president and honorary president of the Playground Association of America (founded in 1906).

In May 2010, PlayCore, together with their GameTime brand, CVS Pharmacy, Boundless Playgrounds and others helped Los Angeles breathe new life into the Gilbert Lindsay Community Center and surrounding urban neighborhood in South L.A. with a new playground.

On this former empty patch of land in the middle of a congested, inner city now stands a gleaming new playground that is the pride of the community. The Gilbert Lindsay facility had previously built a new soccer field and 2,400 square foot recreation center, but still had no playground. Jon Mukri, general manager for L.A. Recreations & Parks, promised the facility, "I'll do all in my power to get you a new playground!"




The Anne and Kirk Douglas Playground affords wide ramps that are accessible by wheel-chair bound children.

Mukri first called PlayCore CEO Bob Farnsworth, knowing about the many urban play areas the corporation has built. Farnsworth, having seen first hand the difference a play space can make on an underserved urban neighborhood, was excited to set the wheels in motion by contacting Fred Leone, CEO of Boundless Playgrounds. Soon, other vital sponsors stepped up in support, including the Good News Foundation, which was looking for a way to honor Anne and Kirk Douglas.

In 1997, Anne Douglas, seeing the deplorable condition of L.A. public school playgrounds, discussed her desire to fix the problem with her husband, acting legend Kirk Douglas. The Douglases enlisted the help of Anita May Rosenstein, a philanthropist and lifelong friend, then-Mayor Richard Riordan, and their foundations. Together, they established the Anne & Kirk Douglas Playground Award to help the L.A. Unified School District create recreational spaces. On May 28, 2008 they reached their goal of renovating 400 playgrounds.

Over the 2010 Memorial Day weekend, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, city employees, GameTime staff and others helped install the Kirk and Anne Douglas Playground.

"Before this playground there was nowhere in the area for mothers to take their children. This is so beautiful and the kids are so excited," said Myra Martinez, who lives nearby with her children.

Mayor Villaraigosa, along with L.A. city staff and Anne and Kirk Douglas, joined GameTime, PlayCore and other sponsors in a heartfelt ceremony held June 30 to dedicate and open the playground. PlayCore CEO Bob Farnsworth accepted a citation for the corporation's work with urban communities. He told the crowd, "We are honored to have such a great job, bringing play to children and communities just like yours. We hope that you love your new playground as much as we love bringing it to you."

You can interact with Kirk Douglas on his myspace page www.myspace.com/kirkdouglas, where he writes a blog.


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October 15, 2019, 4:46 am PDT

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