SEASIDE, Calif. - A Seaside community is taking matters into its own hands to build a new playground for local kids.
Del Monte Manor is one of the largest low-income housing communities in Monterey County with nearly 200 units. Activities on the Yosemite Street property are limited. The playground the 100+ kids have to play on is old and deteriorating with secondhand equipment that is more than 30 years old.
"A lot of the equipment that is over there is really unsafe,” said Erika Matadamas, with the Playground Coalition. “It's deteriorated and there's some sharp edges on some of the things so we want to completely remove some of that stuff."
Another resident showed us some of the dangerous areas. Chantel Davis pointed out there was one swing but there was a padlock on it so kids couldn’t use it. She wants another object called “the dome” removed.
"It's old and it's really rusty and some of the edges back here are really sharp and the kids can cut themselves,” Davis said.
Residents have created a Playground Coalition, dedicated to raising money to renovate the playground. They wanted modern equipment that is clean and accessible to all children.
Organizers want to put in wood chips or some kind of soft material because they want to get rid of the sand. During a recent cleanup, it took volunteers several hours to comb through the sand and remove broken glass.
"We're getting rid of the sand because it's not ADA compliant,” Matadamas said. “A lot of the features in this playground are not compliant, ADA wise, so, for us it's important that we have some sort of wood chips or some ground so all kids are able to use it, whether they have disabilities or not."
So far the coalition has raised $40,000 but said it needs another $25,000. Sunlight Giving has given the group a $30,000 grant and PM Landscape has offered to help with the removal and installation of the playground. While it may seem like a lot of money, they believe it will help the kids thrive later in life.
“So for us it's important if we're trying to think about the health of our community,” Matadamas said. “You know, where do youth play, where do they interact, where do they learn both important social and emotional skills and it's usually at the playground."
Click here to find out how you can help.