A new playground on Buffalo’s East Side may open this summer, thanks to the Jami Masjid mosque and the Universal School – an Islamic, faith-based elementary school – which have teamed up to raise funds for the project.
Plans call for the playground to be built at the corner of Genesee and Forman streets, on a parking lot on the school’s property.
The mosque and the school – both on Genesee Street – launched a fundraising campaign last Thursday and raised more than $43,000 in contributions from about 180 donors over the weekend.
"We’re amazed that the community came together and raised over $40,000," said Akram Shibly, owner of True Intent Productions, which is working with the mosque and the school to raise money for the playground.
The goal is $80,000 to fund the entire project, he said.
The neighborhood is in desperate need of a fun place for kids to play safely, Shibly added. The only park within one mile, Schiller Park, needs major updates and repairs to be comparable to the ones that are offered in the suburbs.
"It’s not where anyone would want their kids to play," he said of Schiller Park. "There’s broken glass and graffiti on the side. It’s not very welcoming."
Planners have contracted with Landscape Structures to design and build a state-of-the-art playground, which they hope to have completed in time for the community to enjoy this summer.
"We believe if you want something in your community, you make that change happen," Shibly said. "If you have a vision and believe in it, you’ll see people come together and support it."
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