Fiesta Bowl Charities, along with partners BHHS Legacy Foundation, Palo Verde, Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority (AZSTA) and KABOOM!, built two new, innovative playgrounds and a multi-purpose sport court at O’Neil Park. A new football field will also be planted in early 2023. Located in south Glendale, this is the 13th site for a Fiesta Bowl Charities playground legacy project over the last five years.
More than 100 volunteers from Fiesta Bowl Charities, BHHS Legacy Foundation, Palo Verde, AZSTA and KABOOM! came together to build the state-of-the-art playgrounds and sport court that will be used by more than 6,000 children each year.
“We are excited to see Fiesta Bowl Sports Complex at O’Neil Park come to life and be part of the revitalization of this neighborhood park,” said Kristina Chumpol, Senior Director of Community Relations for the Fiesta Bowl. “With the William C Jack and Don Mensendick schools adjacent to the park, in addition to the community leagues that practice there, we know that the two playgrounds, sport court and future football field will provide a safe play space for youth of all ages for many years to come.”
Earlier this year, children in the community created the concept of their dream play space and shared their artwork with project organizers. The drawings were used as inspiration for the 2,500 square feet of total playground design—and now those dreams are a reality.
In addition to the newly-built structures, Fiesta Bowl Charities will later install an 80,000 square foot football field in partnership with BHHS Legacy Foundation and AZSTA. The field, the final step in the new complex, will be the playing surface used in the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl in downtown Phoenix.
“AZSTA is pleased to partner with Fiesta Bowl Charities to create new play spaces in Glendale for children to participate in sports and other healthy activities,” said AZSTA Board Chair Teddy Eynon. “This worthy project is a great fit with AZSTA’s Youth & Amateur Sports Grant program, which continues to fulfill the promise made to Maricopa County voters when they approved Proposition 302.”
Before receiving the new play space, O’Neil Park featured outdated infrastructure at the end of its lifespan of use. With play being so important for kids, the project addresses a need in this community and provides an updated space for children and families to gather, foster relationships and promote healthy lifestyles.
“BHHS Legacy Foundation is excited to team up with Fiesta Bowl Charities to provide grant funding in support of revitalizing the playground area at O’Neil Park,” said Jerry Wissink, BHHS Legacy Foundation CEO. “In our world, electronic devices and screen time can easily take up a large part of a child’s day. So, it’s more important than ever that kids and their families have a safe, outdoor play space where they can be active and have fun as part of a healthy lifestyle. Legacy has provided nearly $4 million in grant funding for projects in Glendale and is proud to hep fund the O’Neil Park playground and multi-purpose sport court to benefit the local community.”
Fiesta Bowl Charities and BHHS Legacy Foundation granted KABOOM! funding to help build the playground and support KABOOM! in promoting and protecting a child’s right to active play at home, at school and in the community. Volunteers worked together for three days to build the new play space from the ground up.
“Playgrounds are an iconic part of childhood. They’re not only where kids collect some of their best memories, but also where crucial skills are developed that nurture their physical, mental, and emotional well-being,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “KABOOM! is thrilled to work with our partners to bring to life the new playspace at O’Neil Park and ensure that kids in Glendale have a place designed just for them, where they can play, learn, and unlock their greatest potential.”
The area of Glendale in which O’Neil Park is located comprises a 78% minority population, with a median household income of $32,610 and an average poverty rate of 35.2%. The new play space at O’Neil Park contributes to the City of Glendale’s ongoing project to address infrastructure disparities across the city. The Fiesta Bowl Sports Complex will provide a safe place for children in the community to experience play.
“This project is a perfect example of a public-private partnership that my office has been working hard to bring to the community,” said Glendale Vice Mayor Jamie Aldama, who represents the Ocotillo District. “The park has undergone several upgrades, many that are long overdue. The children and families of the area deserve quality parks and safe, inviting amenities.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was the first of two at the site, with the second taking place early next year following the installment of the field and its accompanying scoreboard. The field will be a site where children in the community can participate in recreation league, after school, and summer camp sports programs.
“Partnering with Fiesta Bowl Charities to build this Kaboom! Playground is a meaningful, hands-on and fun way for our employee volunteers to give back to a community we serve,” said Kory Raftery, Manager of External Affairs at Palo Verde Generating Station. “We support programs that help communities thrive, and providing children with a dedicated place to play is a great way to do that.”
Given the outdated infrastructure currently in place at O’Neil Park, a complex like the one built on Friday has long been a wish for this community. It will allow local children to be active, healthy, and gives them access to valuable social-emotional learning opportunities and the chance to build positive relationships with other youth.