Liberty Locally: Playgrounds

I know what you’re thinking. You’re asking yourself why a liberty-themed site that hits on tough national issues like the 2nd Amendment, Eminent Domain, Civil Liberties, and the like now has a post talking about playgrounds. So let me explain:

This is my first (second) post on this illustrious forum. I created another site about a year and a half ago, where UL-writer Tom Knighton is my business partner. I also wrote “The Cult of Christianity”, which appeared here as a guest post this past Easter. My own philosophy for promoting Liberty is to work from the ground up building support locally and then spreading from there. Hence the reason I wanted to start off by exploring various ways to promote Liberty Locally and show people that we who value Liberty are not crazy anarchists who don’t want government to exist at all.

So let’s talk about playgrounds, shall we?

Nearly all of us played on various playgrounds as kids. Whether it be swinging, sliding, climbing monkey bars, or simply playing tag on an open field, play is an important part of childhood and one many of us look back on fondly.

The problem for local governments is that these days, playgrounds can be expensive. Depending on exactly what you want, they can easily cost upwards of $20K for a small one, and in the six figures for larger ones. Even for larger towns, this is a lot of money - and my town only has a population of around 3,000 people!

So how do we as a community promote small government while also providing ample play space for our community’s children?

One way is to get a single rich donor to donate the money to both buy the equipment and have it installed. No government expense at all, but sufficiently rich donors can be hard to come by in small towns like mine.

But there is another option that builds both community cohesiveness and community support for the actual playground - raise the funds from multiple smaller donors over a period of time, then use volunteer labor to build the playground. Once it is installed, hand it over to the relevant local government for routine maintenance such as keeping the grass mowed. Then hold an annual community service day, such as on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or Labor Day, to do the slightly bigger projects like repainting or redoing the landscape.

There is at least one private organization out there that can help with these types of efforts. It is called KaBOOM!, and the way I typically decribe it is that it is like Habitat for Humanity, but instead of building houses they build playgrounds. They’ve been operating all over the country for at least a decade - I personally helped build playgrounds in Winter Park, Florida (12 miles north of Universal Studios in Orlando) and Austin, Texas in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

These efforts can be partnered with non-profits, such as the Austin build I did where we built that playground for a local YMCA, or they can even be used to reclaim areas in neighborhoods, such as the Winter Park build where we cleaned up an area known for illegal drug use and made it a focal point of pride for the residents of the low-income housing across the street.

With these community efforts, Liberty activists working within them have a chance to put into practice our belief that government does not need to do everything for everyone - we are perfectly capable of banding together as concerned individuals and doing just as good a job or better!

Through these types of efforts, we can show people that we don’t just sit in an ivory tower - we can get down in the weeds and mulch with the best of them.


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