Kids take their designs for a spin at new play area on the Detroit RiverWalk

Imagine being asked to design the playground of your wildest dreams and then seeing it come true before your very eyes.

That's the assignment a group of metro Detroit kids got last summer, and the results were on display Thursday at the grand opening of the Detroit Riverfront Playpark.

The ribbon had no sooner been cut than the mad dash was on, as dozens of local schoolchildren scurried to see if the city's newest fun spot met their approval.

"This is great and it has almost everything a kid could want," said 9-year-old Joshua Andrade, a third-grader at Detroit Edison Academy.

Located adjacent to Rivard Plaza and Pavilion and the William G. Milliken State Park, the 2,500-square-foot park boasts spiral slides, monkey bars, swings and a mini-size climbing wall.

Its design was based on drawings submitted last year by students at the nearby Friends School and children in neighborhoods such as Lafayette Park and Indian Village.

 

Kids from Grosse Pointe, Livonia and Plymouth offered ideas, too.

A group of community and civic leaders interpreted the children's designs and made them come alive. Playground equipment was supplied by the national nonprofit organization Kaboom and funded by the Kresge Foundation and Bank of America.

"This is the perfect example of a public and private partnership to build the newest amenity on Detroit's revitalized riverfront," said Faye Nelson, president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.

Last fall, more than 150 volunteers from the conservancy, Bank of America and the community joined forces to build the playground.

Eight-year-old Connor Robinson, one of the self-described designers of the circular red slide, couldn't wait to try it out.

"You go around the curves pretty fast, so I guess I did a pretty good job," said the third-grader at Bates Academy in Detroit.

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