Blue and red are among 6-year-old Magnolia Woods student Syndie Toussaint’s favorite colors, which is why she spent part of Monday painting those colors in neat stripes across a ceramic tile outside the Gardere Initiative’s office on Ned Avenue.
“I just like smiley faces,” said Charity Rhymes, 11, a South Baton Rouge Charter Academy student, about the multicolored assortment of smiles on her own tile.
These, along with the tiles painted by dozens more children, will be used to decorate a BREC playground going up at Hartley-Vey Park next door to the office, said Murelle Harrison, with the initiative.
Construction on the playground will be June 6 with a community build day, Harrison said, and Monday’s art session was a continuation of the project that began earlier this year, with a neighborhood vote on what equipment children and parents would like to see on the new playground.
The playground project is part of a larger park renovation being funded by two grants, one from Kaboom, an organization that funds play structures in areas without easy access to playgrounds, and a second from Dr Pepper/Snapple, said Cheryl Michelet, director of communications for the parish parks commission.
Both grants total $15,000, she said, and, like a similar playground project at Flannery Road Park built in 2012, will include both community input on design and community volunteers to help prepare the grounds for the play structures.
Kaboom also funded the Flannery Road project, in partnership with Humana.
In addition to painting, the children also colored and used several hula hoops and jump ropes to play outside, in keeping with the BREC mission of giving everyone a means to exercise.
The entire community is invited to the community build day, Michelet said. BREC plans to get the playground up and running in a single day, as close as possible to the end of school.