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Nick George of Sacramento and Natalie Ahern of West Sacramento paint the McKinley Park playground Sunday. It took six days for volunteers to rebuild the playground, which burned last July.

Volunteers finish rebuilding McKinley Park playground in Sacramento

Published: Monday, Jun. 10, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 10, 2013 - 12:15 pm

A six-day effort culminated Sunday night with volunteers turning a McKinley Park playground that had been destroyed by fire into what is now the city's biggest playground.

Some finishing touches remain to be done, such as laying down a rubberized surface with wood chips, and the official opening will not happen until June 27 at 5:30 p.m.

But volunteers held a celebration Sunday to mark the completion of the work.

The playground, which burned last July, was rebuilt with a crew of 2,000 volunteers working three shifts a day. That includes more than 300 volunteers who worked in Saturday's record 108-degree heat.

City officials say they couldn't have built the playground without the volunteer effort. It is valued at $1.5 million, with more than half that coming from donated time, labor and money.

With 70 different activities, the playground has more than twice as much to do as the city's two other biggest playgrounds, at Shasta Community Park and Southside Park, said J.P. Tindell of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

The McKinley playground has an obstacle course and a rock-climbing wall. It has huge replicas of a fish, a frog and a turtle. A tree house, trolley and a bridge are connected by handicapped accessibility ramps.

The playground is built for ages 2 to 12, but adult volunteers have suggested having a night playtime for older people. As Tindell put it, "They didn't build playgrounds like this when we were kids."

Adults may be left to simply watch their children play, but the project was built with that in mind, too. The design accentuates visibility so parents can keep on eye on their children, which was the top priority identified in the planning stages, said volunteer Holly Dean.

Call The Bee's Brad Branan, (916) 321-1065. Follow him on Twitter @bradb_at_sacbee.

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