Sabathani Community Center celebrates 50th Anniversary with new playground

(Photos by Ivan B. Phifer)

A new playground was built for Sabathani Community Center, located at 310 E. 38th St. in South Minneapolis on Friday, September 16. Volunteers from Sabathani and Target took part in the replacement and completion of the center’s 18-year-old playground, as part of celebrating 50 years of service to the community.

The project was made possible by Target in partnership with KaBOOM, a national nonprofit founded in 1996 by Darell Hammond. The organization is dedicated to bringing active play in the lives of children.

“We are very excited to be celebrating our 50th anniversary,” said Sabathani’s Executive Director Cindy Booker. “After the demolition of the first playground, I received a lot of calls asking what was going to happen to [that particular] spot. We’ve been working on a lot of grants, but couldn’t find any funding for the playground. When Target called us and said they wanted to build us a playground, we were more than excited for their initiative.”

The playground, which was built in three days, will be used by the 175 children in the three daycares inside of Sabathani. The playground will also be open for the community on nights and weekends.

(l-r): Kathryn Lusk, Wayne Glanton and Cindy Booker
(l-r): Laysha Ward of Target Corporation, Wayne Glanton and Cindy Booker (Photo by Ivan B. Phifer)

On the second floor inside the center, there will be a track for the community to use for exercise during the winter months. “There are [about] 18 stations for sit ups, jumping jacks, stretching and other exercises,” said Booker.

“The project came together when Target was looking to find three community groups to [work] with during their fall national meeting for 2016,” Project Manager of KaBoom Kathryn Lusk reported to the MSR. “They are celebrating a strong past, a stronger future and a commitment to kids… They’re not just playing and running, they’re also expanding their brains, building their muscles and making friends.”

The event was DJ’d by KMOJ’s Walter “Q Bear” Banks and “Lazy T” Tony, as Target, KaBOOM and Sabathani members hauled dirt and sand with shovels and laid cement for the finalizations of the playground. Shortly before completion, Q-Bear and Lazy-T played the song “The Wobble” to give volunteers a bit of playful inspiration as they pressed down the mulch for the playground.

At around 2:30 pm, a ribbon cutting ceremony took place with Target staff and the children of the Sabathani Community Center; signifying not only the partnership between the two, but the completion of the playground.

Sabathani Community Center Founder Wayne Glanton was also in attendance: “About 50 years ago, when the church [across the street] was built, a bowling alley was built in the basement and was really dedicated for the kids,” Glanton explained. “[Afterwards], the idea of a community center came into action. [We] keep carrying on our legacy for the neighborhood.”

The children looked around at the playground with smiles on their faces. You could hear a few saying, “This is the coolest playground ever,” and “We have the best playground to play with now.”

“With our Minnesota winters, the [old] playground had definitely seen its time,” said Booker. “We are very confident that everyone will love the new playground.”

The new playground opened to the public Monday, September 19.


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