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

The Anne and Kirk Douglas Playground affords wide ramps that are accessible by wheel-chair bound children.
Rain Bird
Playworld Came America

"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!"


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.

Mukri first called PlayCore CEO Bob Farnsworth, knowing about the many urban play areas the corporation has built. Farnsworth was excited to set the wheels in motion and 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, where he writes a blog.



No Pesticides on School Playfields

In 2005, Connecticut became the first state to ban the applications of synthetic weed killers around schools and daycare centers in grades K-8. The new Connecticut law extends the ban to include pesticides on grass or playing fields on the grounds of any public or private preschool or public or private school with students in grade K-8.

Public and private schools in Connecticut that have children in eighth grade or lower will no longer be able to use pesticides on their grass or playing fields, so says the new state law that took effect July 1, 2010.

The law, which the Conn. General Assembly passed this winter, expanded the prohibition of pesticides on school grounds to the playing fields. The law, however, does allow pesticide use to eliminate “an immediate threat to human health.”
Some state school districts didn’t wait for the law to implement a no pesticide policy. Newtown School Superintendent Janet Robinson told that her district has been free of pesticides for about three years.

“We knew it was inevitable,” she said. Before the new law, the school districts were required to keep a list of students whose parents wanted to be notified whenever a pesticide was used on school grounds.

Superintendent of Schools for Bethel, Conn., Gary Chesley, said his school district took steps three years ago to eliminate pesticides, but when pesticide were used, they followed safety regulations to the letter.

Nancy Alderman, president of the advocacy group Environment and Human Health, said it’s taken years to pass a provision in the pesticide bill to extend the prohibition to the full school grounds and playing fields.

“It’s important that the park and recreation departments that take care of the fields, and for PTAs that monitor what goes on in schools to know about the law,’’ she said. “This is ground-breaking legislation.”

The New York State Senate has also approved a bill banning pesticides on school playgrounds and ball fields. The measure still needs approval from the governor and Assembly to become law. The Assembly previously passed a similar bill, so the two chambers must agree on a reconciliation bill.

Alderman called this a model law that town leaders could apply to town properties. She said she’s not opposed to pesticides in emergency situations, but for the most part pesticides have been used for cosmetic purposes. “Anyone who doubts the viability of this (ban) should visit the Cheshire High School fields and see for themselves. All Cheshire fields are organic and they are gorgeous,” Alderman told the local media.

Connecticut Department of Education spokesman Thomas Murphy said there are alternatives to pesticide use, and that “all sectors are moving in that direction.”

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October 23, 2019, 10:38 pm PDT

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