The purchase of playground equipment for Valparaiso's parks is good news for kids in Valparaiso, but also for kids abroad.
The city is retiring two sets of playground equipment, at ValPlayso and at Bicentennial Park. The old equipment from Bicentennial is going to Kids Alive International, which is based in Valparaiso.
About a week before the new Little Tykes equipment arrives, Kids Alive volunteers will disassemble the old equipment and ship it to Kalamazoo, Mich., where it will be sandblasted. A company there will give it a fresh powder coating for free.
When it arrives at the Kids Alive group homes in Guatemala, it will look brand new.
The Bicentennial playground will be combined with another for the Guatemala location.
This is the fourth time Kids Alive will have received old playground equipment from Valparaiso.
Kids Alive will also be sending playground equipment from Valparaiso and other Midwestern communities to Karundas, Kenya, this year.
The agency will build a couple of playgrounds in the Dominican Republic for children at group homes there in a few years, so other old Valparaiso playground equipment could find new life there as well.
Dan McGuire, director of special projects and event operations for the Valparaiso Parks Department, said the city saves about $3,000 in disposal costs each time an old playground is donated to Kids Alive.
Kudos to Kids Alive International for giving new life abroad to Valparaiso's old, outdated playground equipment. It's not as new as the equipment Valparaiso's children will enjoy, but it will be far better than what those kids in other countries have.