One of the oldest parks in St. Louis got a new playground recently, thanks to KaBOOM!, a non-for-profit that builds parks for kids, and volunteers from New Balance Athletics.

Pouring concrete, drilling holes and digging a garden were part of a whirlwind of work at Gravois Park in late May. Over 200 volunteers removed old hardware and installed four slides, four swing sets and other new equipment in just six hours.

“Play really matters to kids. It’s so critical for the social physical and developmental needs of kids throughout the country,” said Brian McNamara, a project manager with KaBOOM!

New Balance Athletics volunteers supported the effort.

“We wanted to make sure that we could be somewhat of a beacon for movement in an underprivileged neighborhood that could really take advantage of it,” said Derek Shon, New Balance Athletics volunteer.

Twelve-year-old Heaven Uhuru says she plans to spend a lot of time in the park.

“I’m really excited because I don’t like to come outside a lot. I usually sit on the Internet on my computer, and my mom’s like, ‘Hey, you need to go outside and do something. So, now I’ll actually want to come outside and have fun with my friends,’” she said.

Uhuru’s mother, Pacia, says she believes the makeover will lead to more than just play and draw the community together.

The playground was sponsored by several groups, including Cherokee Street Reach, the City of St. Louis and the New Balance Foundation.