workers installing roof

Workers install a roof on one of the new playground pieces.

In less than a day, approximately 50 community members finished installation on a new playground at Fox Way and Mohican Drive in the Town of Forest Heights at the Aug. 30 Community Build Day.

The theme for the Build Day was “Forest Heights Community at Play.” Community volunteers worked in teams to assemble each element of the play structure. Other tasks included the construction of arbors, benches and picnic tables, as well as the mixing of cement. Metro Recreation/Burke provided the playground equipment.

“The FoxMo Playground brought the community together to work on a project benefiting our youngest residents and created a ‘place’ that we could all take ownership in,” said Forest Heights Mayor Jacqueline Goodall. “The project stands as a visible reminder of what we can accomplish with each of us working together — residents, business partners and community stakeholders — in making a difference in the areas that we call home.”

The Build Day also featured games, food and live entertainment, which included a performance by Ronald McDonald. Volunteers distributed a total of 84 T-shirts to attendees at the event. Children also took part in a mural project, where they created paintings that represented visions of their new playspace, which will be displayed on site.   

Community members work on a mural.

“The Forest Heights Community Build Day was a challenging, yet ecstatic day for all of us,” said Charmaine Turner, Tot Lot Development Coordinator. “Just seeing our kids and volunteers devote all of their time and effort into a community landmark that will benefit future generations of Town residents was a rewarding experience in of itself.”

The playspace will officially open to the public once the fence and ground cover has been installed. A ribbon cutting ceremony on the new playground site will be scheduled later in the fall.

Community members are also encouraged to come out on Oct. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon – which is the day when Prince George’s County will host its “Clean Up, Green Up” initiative – to work on landscaping the area outside the playground.

In 2013, the Town of Forest Heights was awarded a $20,000 Let’s Play Construction Grant from Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! to fund construction for the new playground. The grant was part of Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. Additional funding for the project will come from an Open Space Grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Town of Forest Heights.

Since 2012, Forest Heights has earned two gold medals and one bronze medal as part of Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC).

Forest Heights was also among 217 communities nationwide that had earned Playful City USA status in 2013. Playful City USA is a national program advocating for local policies that increase play opportunities for children. KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the lack of play. The program also complements First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, which aims to combat the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. More information on KaBOOM! is available at http://www.kaboom.org.

The Town would like to acknowledge the following groups for their support: 

-Forest Heights Public Works Department

-Michael Slifer of Metro Recreation/Burke and his crew

-KaBOOM!

-Let’s Play! Dr Pepper Snapple Group

-Oxon Hill High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC

-St. Mark AME Church

-Potomac Job Corps

-Jacoline Key, president of the Glassmanor Citizens Association

-McDonald’s

-Starbucks at Tanger Outlets

-Popeyes in Oxon Hill

-Safeway

-Maryland Department of Natural Resources

-Forest Heights-Oxon Hill CDC

-Concern Black Men for Prince George’s County

-Forest Heights Elementary School/PTO

-United Medical Center

-Shoppers Food Warehouse in Oxon Hill