Muskegon Heights school in running for grant for new playground

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich.-- A Muskegon Heights school is going to have a playground or the first time ever, but they need the public's help in making that happen.

They're going to be making some updates this summer regardless, but the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary Academy is in the running for a pretty big grant that would help make their playground dreams even more of a reality. They're hoping the public can vote for them to help.

It doesn't look like much, because it's not.

“This is our open field,"said principal Vanessa Marble. "This is where our kids currently have recess.”

It's the space behind Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary Academy in Muskegon Heights where second through sixth grade has their recess.

“Muskegon Heights for quite a while has not received what they quite deserve, so when I see this empty field it’s like a blank canvas and we have all the opportunity in the world to make this right for these kids" said superintendent Rane Garcia.

Superintendent Rane Garcia is more optimistic and calls the empty field more room for possibilities.

“I think it’s just such a great opportunity and that’s what I feel about Muskegon Heights too” said Garcia.

The school is in the running for $25,000 grant from the Kiwanis Legacy of Play competition. Add that to the $30,000 grant they just received from the Muskegon County Community Foundation and it would be halfway to their $110,000 goal for a new playground space.

“If students have a dedicated space for physical activity, that will roll over in to the school” said Marble.

“It kind of makes me feel sad that we can’t provide it for them," said Tanesha Waker, a parent of students at the school. "We’re used to just doing what we have to do for something like that, that’s kind of out of our hands.”

Walker has bought toys like balls and jump ropes for her daughter's class to have for recess.

“They don’t have anything to play with," said Walker. "They’re just running around on an empty field.”

The goal is to redo the land, fix the fence, build a walking path and add a playground. The space would be open to the students and surrounding community as well.

“Really we’re just looking to invest and improve the situation of play and fun for our community” said Garcia. “We all grow from each other. The phrase is a rising tide lifts all boats, right? We need to do this together. It’s a simple click. Go online and click.”

Voting is open through Thursday, May 31. Click here to vote.

You can also vote directly to a fund to help build the playground through the Muskegon County Community Foundation. Visit their website for more information.

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