RICHMOND (KCBS) – Putting a rock cave, child-size houses and a zip line at the Elm Playlot might not seem like measures meant to improve public health.

But Toody Maher, executive director of the non-profit Pogo Park, said having a safe place to play was essential given the sheer number of families with young kids in the Iron Triangle neighborhood.

“There’s something like 3,500 kids under the age of 11 within a seven minute walk of this little park,” Maher said.

Yet there are rarely children playing in the park near Eighth Street and Elm Avenue that is surrounded by blight, crime and poverty.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

Pogo Park has a $2 million grant to create a unique playground planned in part by neighborhood parents who will help build it.

“It creates this safe space for children and families that do not have a single safe space to play in that neighborhood,” Maher said.

Scientific Art Studio, whose massive baseball glove sits in left field at AT&T Park, will also help with the project.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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