Kids at Rockwood Station help design new playground, coming July 20

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Monique Valensuela, 7, lit up talking about her playground ideas, which included a tall swing, merry-go-round, tire swing and teeter-totter. She was among 20 Gresham Station kids who participated in a playground design session with KaBoom!.

From merry-go-rounds to tire swings and teetertotters to curvy slides, the group of 20 was brimming with ideas.

Kids at Rockwood Station were invited to dream bigger, better and cooler Tuesday, May 21, as they drew their ideal playgrounds.

“Close your eyes and imagine you wake up and stumble into the kitchen, where an amazing breakfast awaits,” said Laurel Laidlaw, a project manager with the national nonprofit organization KaBoom!

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Miguel Perez, 13, drew an elaborate depiction of his dream playground in markers Tuesday, May 21.

“You hear a honk outside your house, see a limo and a man in a suit who asks if you’re ready to go to school. You pull up and see something in the field you’ve never seen before: a new playground. What does it look like?”

Markers in hand, the kids let their imaginations run wild the next 20 minutes. And some of their creations may become a reality.

KaBoom! has selected Rockwood Station, a Home Forward’s apartment community, for a playground build this summer. With the help of a corporate sponsor, Foresters (a life insurance provider), and many volunteers, KaBoom! will underwrite and organize the build.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Laurel Laidlaw, a project manager with KaBoom!, invited Gresham Station kids to dream bigger, better and cooler. Their designs will be incorporated into a playground design and one-day build July 20.

Monique Valensuela, 7, is eagerly awaiting the new playground. She lit up with a huge smile as she described her drawing.

“I really want monkey bars!” she said.

Miguel Perez, 13, and Esmerelda Garcia, 11, want to see a bigger play structure that's more accommodating to older kids with features such as a rock wall, trampoline, rope swing and bridge.

KaBoom! will look at the most popular features kids drew, present them to an architect and incorporate them into a design over the next two months.

After the playground is designed, it will be built in a single day July 20 by Rockwood Station residents, community volunteers and staff from Foresters, Home Forward and Guardian Real Estate Services, the firm that manages the property.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - A group of 20 gathered Tuesday, May 21 to help envision a new playground for the 195 residents at Gresham Station, a Home Forward apartment community, and its adjacent properties.

"We have two months to plan for this event and need lots and lots of help," Laidlaw said.

"We need your help to say, 'I helped build this playground and it was hard work and we need to make sure we take care of it."

The playground will also be available to adjacent apartment communities, including Rockwood Landing.

For more information or to volunteer with the build, visit or

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