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Greenhorns enjoying green playground

Kids enjoy green playground

NEW YORK -- When the children of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx slid down the blue slide of their new playground Saturday morning, they raised their hands in the air and smiled.

It looked like an ordinary slide and it worked like any other slide.

There were no signs that what now stands as part of a playground used to be a pile of milk jugs. The soft, cushion-like playground surface didn't look or feel like tires.

But those are exactly the materials that were used to make up most of the No Fault Eco-Play Playground that was unveiled Saturday.

Approximately 22,600 milk jugs and 1,110 tires created the renovated playground as part of Major League Baseball's efforts to promote green activities. The build used 85 percent post-consumer recycled materials.

Representatives from the Boys & Girls Club of America, MLB, the Natural Resources Defense Council and No Fault Sport Group were all in attendance for the ribbon cutting and the dedication ceremony. They were joined by more than 50 kids and parents to celebrate the newly-constructed playground.

"At the end of the day, it's about the children that we see here today, and how we can pour into their lives," said Dan Quintero, executive director of Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. "And today's an example of a number of organizations stepping up and pouring into the lives of children."

Construction didn't begin until June 25, and the first step was taking down and removing the playground that was previously in place. President and owner of No Fault, David Brantley, said he didn't think the project could be completed by the desired timeline.

But through some hard work and persistence, a task that normally takes 90 days to complete was finished in three weeks. And as Brantley watched the children swing on the monkey rings, scale a miniature climbing wall and run back and forth on the black and yellow surface, he was gratified.

"These are the things we like to do," he said. "We've done all these glamorous things, but it's these kind of deals that we love because it has a direct impact on kids, an immediate impact on kids and neighborhoods that really use these things."

While the work process was under way, employees at Kips Bay had to keep the children away from the playground area for the span of about two weeks. But the construction of an environmentally-friendly playground gave them a chance to teach the kids about recycling.

The children worked on a mural by the building's entrance to salute MLB, complete with an image of the Statue of Liberty draped in an actual green recyclable bag and holding a reusable All-Star tote.

A caption reads, "It's easy being green."

And now the wait is finished. As soon as the blue ribbon was snipped in half, children ran onto the new playground and put it to good use.

"This is one of the biggest portions of our facility because the kids that are 6 to 12 years of age, this is their sanctuary," said Andrew McFall, deputy director of operations at Kips Bay. "The playground that we had wasn't in bad shape, but it wasn't as spruce and vibrant as this new one.

"So now, having this sparkling new facility that's eco-friendly, it's phenomenal. It's a safe place to play, and they're going to enjoy it for years and years to come."

Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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