A Safe Place To Play

A Safe Place To Play

Rebuilding Together Alexandria

Last month, 80 Fannie Mae employees volunteered to revitalize Taney Avenue Park in the City of Alexandria. Rebuilding Together Alexandria facilitated this volunteer day that included making paths for park users, cutting down large amounts of brush, building 10 birdhouses, and assembling a park sign, among other improvements.

The Taney Avenue Park revitalization project was a collaborative effort between Rebuilding Together Alexandria, Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, and RunningBrooke. From community parks and gardens, to schools and homeless shelters, we partner with organizations to renovate these critical community resources. Because of the nine projects we completed in FY16, children now have safe areas to play, neighbors have gardens in which to grow their own food, and whole neighborhoods have been revitalized.

Taney Avenue Park is situated in an area where 59.2 percent of the households have incomes of less than $60,000, living at 50 percent of the Area Median Income. Within a quarter mile of Taney Avenue Park there are 110 children between the ages of 10 and 14, 137 between the ages of 5 and 9, and 237 under 5 years old with another 1,048 children within another half a mile.

Through discussions with community residents in the area surrounding Taney Avenue, we found that they wanted a safe place for children to play and explore, a place to create social connections with neighbors, and an opportunity to explore nature. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed wanted the “open lawn” enhanced and transformed: “It would be awesome to have a playground in this area. We do not have any playgrounds within easy walking distance.” Given this, two playground areas have been slated for Taney Avenue, to support varying age groups and physical activity. Others added that they would like to see more walking paths, so we made that happen too.

Our goal in renovating Taney Avenue Park was to create access to a safe, high-quality park in which in-need families and children of Alexandria may gather, play, and exercise daily. When families and individuals live in neighborhoods with enhanced common spaces, in housing they can afford, they put down roots, which then creates the opportunity for community stability and more socially, culturally, and economically diverse neighborhoods throughout Alexandria. For more information about Rebuilding Together Alexandria, please visit www.RebuildingTogetherAlex.org.