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Playground Completed Despite Rain

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Original Title:
Fort Natomas Playground Completed Despite Rain

With their goal to complete the project looming, organizers spend an uneasy night worrying who would show up to continue work Saturday rebuilding a Natomas playground destroyed in an arson fire last summer. They needn’t have worried.

Sure it was raining, but seventh grader Brandon Kado knew the volunteers would show up Saturday. “I thought we’ve got a lot of motivated people out here,” Brandon said, “and they’ll stay the whole day and we’ll still get it done. Even in the rain!”

And in fact, nearly 400 volunteers showed up Saturday morning, surprising Pam Tuss of the Rebuild Fort Natomas Committee. “I didn’t sleep much,” Tuss admitted, “I was worried that we wouldn’t get the people out here and we really need the people to get it going. When I got here this morning I couldn’t believe it.”

Any sound the rain may have made was drowned out by the hammers and saws and heavy equipment wielded by the volunteers who came from as far away as Placerville. Work began Tuesday after four months of planning and fundraising with a goal of completing everything in time for a grand opening ceremony Sunday at 6 p.m.

The original playground opened nearly 15 years ago to the day, the result of a huge community effort that tried to incorporate ideas kids themselves wanted to see in a playground.

“They used to have four or five slides,” said fifth grader Shannon Price, a regular user of the playground. "It had sand near the swings, had bark on the playground and it had tunnels and really cool things like boxes you could hide in.”

Then last July, somebody set fire to what residents here had named Fort Natomas and neighbors could only watch as it burned to the ground. “The hardest part,” said Tuss, “was watching our kids who’d played on it for 15 years and watching them with tears in their eyes. That was really tough.”

But even before the ashes were cold, parents and neighbors were determined to start all over again. And with the outpouring of community support and volunteer help they’ve had, they’re determined to make it by Sunday. “We will meet our deadline,” Pam said, “yes, we will.”

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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