The Cleveland Browns football team spent Monday and Tuesday preparing for Thursday night’s preseason game at the Green Bay Packers, but on Wednesday, members of the organization contributed their talents and efforts to building a playground at Warsaw Park in the Slavic Village area of Cleveland.
Browns alumni and staff joined the team’s annual Summer Play 60 Fitness Zone project and installed a state-of-the-art ENERGi system at the current park, which also houses a community pool and playground.
“We met volunteers who were dedicated to the community and they had a passion to make a difference here,” said Jenner Tekancic, director of community outreach for the Browns. “When we visited Warsaw Park, we saw there was a need to replace some of the existing equipment that had been on-site and there was the space to do it. Through the partnership and collaboration, we were able to make the project happen.”
To install the fitness zone system, which will give children in the neighborhood a place to go through 120 different exercises and activities, the Browns partnered with the Slavic Village Development Corporation and City of Cleveland. Prior to the install, volunteers from Forward Church and the community prepared the site for the project.
“What this will provide the Slavic Village community is not only an opportunity to install something permanent in the community, but it also helps build the momentum with the volunteers to refurbish and refresh this area for the positive growth of the neighborhood,” Tekancic said.
Over the last few years, Slavic Village has undergone a revitalization project. Two years ago, the Browns and National Football League provided funding for an on-site football stadium at Cleveland Central Catholic High School. Previously, the site of the stadium had been the home of run-down and abandoned houses.
During the last three years, the Browns have installed fitness zones during the off-season at Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland, Heskett Middle School in Bedford Heights and at Lou Groza Park in Berea. They have also helped with football field renovations at various locations in northeast Ohio.
“It’s a very rewarding experience for everybody involved,” Tekancic said. “Based on the dialogue we had before this project was installed, we got with Slavic Village and community advocates and they were eager to make a positive impact in the community.”
The Cleveland Browns Play 60 program is in association with Cleveland Clinic, Medical Mutual and American Dairy Association Mideast and Fuel Up to Play 60.