Neighborhood volunteers building new playground in Westfield

westfield playground construction
Volunteers building a new playground at Whitney Field in Westfield.

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – When Westfield residents wanted a major addition to their neighborhood park, they started building it themselves.

By Saturday evening, neighborhood children will already be using the playscape at Whitney Playground in the city’s largely Hispanic Orange Street neighborhood.

Wil Rodriguez is the past president of Westfield’s Spanish American Association. “I raised my kids in this park with all the other players, all they had was just this empty space to play with. So someone told me we need a playscape down here,’ Rodriguez said.

When longtime neighbor Olga Gonzalez heard they needed volunteers, she was there first thing Friday morning.

“Everytime there’s something going on in the community, whether it’s for charity, whatever it is, the neighborhood is working together. We’re diverse, we’re very diverse,” Gonzalez said.

It wasn’t long before Westfield State University got involved in the project. Lizette Rivera is the school’s director of diversity.

“It’s a wonderful feeling going back to the Latino communities. Well known there wasn’t a park here, it’s just great seeing the diversity of the volunteers here- that’s just wonderful,” Rivera said.

City Hall helped buy the equipment, but its the neighbors who are making certain its quickly installed. The goal is to make this a two day project with everything in place on Saturday.

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