Holy Smokes, Yao Ming!

We’re sad to report that one of the Yao Ming nature playscape projects, at the Chinese Community Center childcare, has suffered a tremendous setback with the loss of half of their playground in a fire. What makes this exceptionally sad is that the project is one of a series of playscapes, designed by ARC for the Collaborative for Children, that was recently awarded the Mayor’s Proud Partner Award. The official cause of the fire was determined to be a cigarette butt, and arson investigators are still investigating whether the fire was intentionally set. The fire happened on the afternoon of Saturday October 2 while the preschool was thankfully not in session. The Chinese Community Center was safely evacuated and no one was harmed, but the infant and toddler playscape was severly damaged. The plastic play equipment and shade canopy were entirely destroyed. Many of the ‘green’ elements of the playscape also burned significantly, including the bamboo hedge, the large grass berms, the raingarden, the star jasmine vines, and the vine teepee. All of the moveable toys (tricycles, sand tables, etc.) were also entirely destroyed. The Chinese Community Center is still awaiting information from their insurance company to determine what the settlement amount will be, but we suspect the coverage will not be enough to replace the entire playscape to its previous state. We are committed to working with the CCC to help them find resources, funding, and volunteers to slowly re-build this wonderful gift that was made possible through Collaborative for Children and the Yao Ming Foundation.

Images of the damaged playscape to follow shortly…

On a more positive note, the other half of the playscape (preschoolers side) was unharmed and the playscape is alive and well. The purple sweet potato vine has found a happy home in the vine tepee, which is almost entirely covered! What a fun little space! I couldn’t resist crawling inside to get a child’s eye view of the world!

 

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One Response to Holy Smokes, Yao Ming!

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