FORT MYERS, Fla. -- More than 200 volunteers spent their day building a new playground at the S.T.A.R.S. Complex, Friday, which was designed by kids who attend the community center.
The project was a partnership between the City of Fort Myers, Target, and non-profit organization Kaboom. Volunteers hope the park makes a positive impact on kids who live in the area. Signs around the Dunbar neighborhood say "Violence Free Zone," but unfortunately, according to residents, that is not always a reality.
In March, two people were shot in the parking lot at the S.T.A.R.S. Complex. A report of shots fired also rattled parents in 2017.
These incidents have sparked some volunteers, like Magic Benton, to make a difference. "Honestly, it's been going on for a long time," he said. "This gives them a safe place to come and play. The playground that was here before was older and run down, so now this kind of refreshes and rejuvenates the kids."
In February, kids who attend after school programs at S.T.A.R.S. were asked to draw their dream playground. The new playground is based off their drawings. "They have visions, they have dreams, and it's our job to help them get to those dreams," Benton said.
Benton told 4 In Your Corner the park is a great first step to making an impact on safety in the community, and hopes more afterschool programs are created after this.
The park was completed before a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 P.M. Friday. It will be open for children to play on it by Tuesday.