Neighborhood in Fresno hit hard by crime now celebrating new playground

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The momentum of change could be felt at Granny's Park in Central Fresno. Lively music and volunteers ready to build a playground filled the area that just a day ago was near a shooting scene. (KFSN)

The momentum of change could be felt at Granny's Park in Central Fresno. Lively music and volunteers ready to build a playground filled the area that just a day ago was near a shooting scene.

A resident of the neighborhood, DeWayne McCor, said, "Right over in the front right there, they found the shells right there. It just don't make no sense though, we're trying to do something different in the neighborhood."

McCor is a former gang member, who is now trying to help turn this neighborhood around. He's not the only one who wants to see change.

"These kids are subjected to a lot here. They see a lot... between prostitution, drugs, and shootings, it's not right for them. So, it's about time the city invested in us," said Laura, resident.

Dozens of community members and volunteers turned their passion into action building a new playground.

"We're going to have a spiral slide, we're going to have a bay of swings, so there's going to be brand new swing set here, and a four-person see-saw, as a well as a toss-up, which is basically a basketball court also for the kids," said Katrina Bitanga with KaBOOM!

Non-profit KaBOOM! helped bring the playground to the park, thanks to help from the city and Dr. Pepper Snapple.

"The way that you're going to fix things down the road is giving back to the ones that are going to change things down the road -- and that's the kids," said Dr. Pepper Snapple Fresno Branch Manager Robert Clayton.

Fresno Council President Clint Olivier said changes are happening in the neighborhood to make it safer.

"I think it's a big deal and not just for kids to have a place to play but to communicate to people in this part of town that... you are valued and the City of Fresno does care about you. Other people in the community care about you and your neighborhood, we're going to bring it back," said Olivier.

Residents said the playground is already serving a symbol of hope.

"There was a family that had just moved into the neighborhood and he was thrilled and he said, 'Wow! I'm so happy now that we moved here because now I see that there's hope in this neighborhood.' and there is. There are a lot of good people in there," said Laura.
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