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Arizona Diamondbacks grant gives Phoenix school new playground

PHOENIX — Some kids have a new place to have fun, because the playground at their school in downtown Phoenix has undergone a makeover.

The playground at the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center near 16th and Adams streets wasn’t much before a local sports team stepped forward.

“It was just some swings and a few climbing structures,” said Kim Pollins, director of the school’s Head Start program.

But thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the play area now has new equipment. Pollins said the playground now serves as an outdoor classroom for 3- to 5-year-old kids.

“It gives the children a chance to explore all of the elements of nature, and they get to explore all the world around them,” said Pollins.

Pollins said she thinks kids can help their math skills by playing with and counting wooden blocks that are part of the new playground. There are also new elements like sand and seashells, which Pollins said will help kids learn about the sea, even though they’re nowhere near the ocean.

Former Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez said that the team was happy to give a “Grand Slam” grant to help the school. He said the Diamondbacks take pride in giving back to the community.

“We want the people here to know that we’re about giving back,” said Gonzalez. “We provide entertainment, with baseball, for the fans. We also want them to know that we’re about the community.”

“Gonzo” added the team was glad to help the downtown Phoenix development center.

“It all starts here. These are very young kids. If we can help their playground and their school to impact these guys for their future, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Gonzalez said the Diamondbacks have given out more than 300 “Grand Slam” grants to organizations in the community over the past few years.