Vandals set fire to community playground - WSMV News 4

Vandals set fire to community playground leaving kids nowhere to play

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Vandals did more than deface public property when they set fire to a local playground. They ruined the fun for all the kids.

The United Way of Nashville built the playground last year with the help of volunteers in just one day.  Now, they're going to have to spend more money they don't have to fix it. 

It's a playground that would normally be filled with dozens of after school children, but now it's closed.  

"How could someone do this to any area we work so hard for the children in this community?" asked Tracye Henderson, the director of the McGruder Family Resources Center.  "It was unbelievable, it was devastating." 

Over the weekend someone torched the playground.  It has temporarily left the children with no place to play. It's also affecting them in other ways.  

"We have an after-school program that focuses on prevention of childhood obesity  and diabetes, and every nice day they come out here to play to get their exercise in," Henderson said.  

The United Way partnered with the Margaret Walker Alexander Comprehensive Health Center, McGruder Family Resources Center, Humana and Kaboom to build the nearly $50,000 playground last year. It took 260 volunteers and five hours to build.  

Mel Brown was one of the many volunteers.

"It's just unbelievable that someone who come and destroy the thing for no reason," Brown said.

Metro police were called to investigate. Crime scene tape has been placed to keep the kids away from the playground, which is not safe anymore.  

"The structure itself is made of metal and a really hard, plastic material. All the slides on this structure burned to a point you can't tell there were any here," said United Way of Nashville representative Rebecca Carter.  

Center officials don't have any idea who could have set fire to the playground. They're not sure if it was children just playing around or someone else with ill intentions.  

"We don't know who did this, but whoever did this, I really hope that person has a little bit of compassion in them in them and will help with the rebuilding process," Henderson said.

United Way officials are hoping to find the money to once again bring play back to this community.   

"United Way has already stated we're committed to this community.  We're committed to rebuilding the playground and rebuilding like it was," Carter said.  

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