DURHAM, N.C. – Durham Parks and Recreation (DPR), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and KABOOM! are working together to increase access to play with the creation of a new playspace at Burton Park. The new playground will provide hundreds of kids access to a safe, high-quality place to play.

In February, kids from the Durham community participated in Design Day, an event where they presented drawings of their dream neighborhood playground. Their creative ideas served as inspiration for the actual Burton Park playspace design, which includes a variety of swings, multiple slides, and inclusive play panel elements.

The project partners, along with 250 local volunteers, will install the playground beginning on Tuesday, May 3.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony and unveiling celebration will take place on Thursday, May 5 at 4 p.m.

"DPR is grateful for our partnership with KABOOM! and Blue Cross NC to provide a fun, new playground designed by the community, for the community," said Wade Walcutt, Director of DPR. “Play is essential to the health and well-being of every child, and this playground replacement demonstrates our reinvestment in youth and the prioritization of our neighborhoods.”

Along with the construction of this playground, the City of Durham is invested in making further improvements in Burton Park, including sidewalk improvements and a new walkway from Ridgeway Avenue to the new playground entrance (between Sima Avenue and Lakeland Street), replacement of the walkway between Sima Avenue and the park shelter, shelter maintenance and painting, new picnic tables, a new fence around the playground, tree plantings, and general beautification throughout the park.

“Playgrounds are an iconic part of childhood. They’re not only where kids collect some of their best memories, but also where crucial skills are developed that nurture their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “KABOOM! is thrilled to work with our partners to bring to life the new playspace at Burton Park and ensure that kids in the area have a place designed just for them to play, learn and unlock their greatest potential.”

Blue Cross NC has provided support for the new playground through its partnership with KABOOM!, furthering its commitment to improving health inequities by providing more safe, healthy environments for the community. Since 2009, Blue Cross has partnered with KABOOM! to build 15 playspaces across North Carolina.

"Blue Cross NC is committed to improving the health of people across our state, and that includes improving access to play as a key component of a healthy childhood, said Reagan Greene, Vice President of Marketing and Community Engagement at Blue Cross NC. "We're thrilled to partner with our local community and KABOOM! to revitalize a fun and accessible playspace in our own backyard of Durham.”

To ensure that playgrounds are able to open safely in every community, KABOOM! has issued important playground guidance that all communities, playground owner/operators and caregivers can follow. The guidance can be viewed here.