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Community groups building new playground for families on far-east side

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Community organizations are working together to turn an empty space into a playground for kids on the far east side of Indianapolis.

JD Finish Line Youth Foundation, Ross Foundation, Community Alliance for the Far Eastside (CAFE) and KABOOM are working this week to build a playground at Capital City Church of Christ. The church is at 42nd Street and Post Road. The organizations say this area is one of the city’s most economically challenged neighborhoods and doesn’t have easy access to parks or other play spaces.

“We’ve been searching to change this side of town and this can be a catalyst to get that change going again,” project coordinator Chalanta Shockley said. “It’s hard work but it’s paying off and it’s nice to see it coming into fruition. We’ve known for bad things to happen in this area, but now we’re ready for some good things to happen.”

Cheria Caldwell with CAFE wants the playground to be a symbol showing children that people care about them. “It’s a safe place, it’s a safe environment, it’s visible, it’s not close to the street, so parents will feel comfortable coming over, having their kids here, as well as being close to a place of worship, so I think it’s just an awesome asset to the community.”

Kids from the surrounding community helped design the playground.

Na’Shan Clay, a kid living on the east side, believes the project could be a step in changing the image of the neighborhood.

The ribbon-cutting for the playground will be at 1 p.m. Friday.