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New Playground Brings New Hope to Housing Complex

After an all-day effort, hundreds of kids living in a Lackawanna County housing development now have a new place to play.
After an all-day effort, hundreds of kids living in a Lackawanna County housing development now have a new place to play.

Volunteers with AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership and AmeriHealth Northeast teamed-up with the Scranton Housing Authority to build a new playground at the Valley View Terrace Housing complex Tuesday.

Over the years, Valley View has had its fair share of crime but officials are hoping the new playground will help create a safer environment for kids.

Residents say they're also hopeful the playground will continue the process of turning past problems around.

All day long, residents looked on at the playground being built.

"I can't wait for it to be done and I want to play on it already," 12-year-old Jaylene Quinones said.

For people that live in Valley View Terrace, the investment is more than just slides and swings.

"When you hear Valley View the first thought that comes to you is, "oh, yeah, that's a bad place," resident Heriberto DeJesus said. "Now they're fixing it up because this is a ghetto place. They're trying but from what you've seen, they're changing it."

Several people pointed out the murder of a cab driver last month right outside the entrance to the housing development.

While the 16-year-old suspect didn't live at Valley View, residents say many people still associate the development with what happened.

"After the incident that happened up there a couple weeks ago, to see that the community is still not scared and they still show us that we're still people in a little complex," resident Gladys Duran said.

The volunteers who built the playground say their effort is all about giving kids something to do and being active.

"It makes them feel really good abotu their environment and it helps us to create safe, healthy environments," Maria Pajil Battle, president of AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership said.

With the playground now complete, residents say it is another building block in making their entire development better.

"They got more security, they've got more security patrolling the place. They are putting people out that are problems," grandmother Carmen Rosa said.

The new playground is open from dawn to dusk in Scranton.

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