Volunteers help rebuild vandalized playground

By News Staff

Reporting by Liz Tufts

ltufts@abc6.com

A day after vandals destroyed equipment inside the imPOSSIBLE Dream playground in Warwick, a community comes together to get it back open.

Dozens of volunteers showed up to make the playground safe again for the disabled children who depend on it, and the turn-out Friday was far more than ever expected.

Instead of the sounds of kids laughing and playing, the sounds of hammers and power tools took over the imPOSSIBLE Dream playground. Sometime Wednesday night vandals broke in, breaking benches, toys, and windows, leaving many at a loss for words.

"I was heartbroken, how could somebody come in here and desecrate something that means so much to so many people?" said volunteer, Lori Halsband.

"I showed the kids the pictures on Facebook and they wanted to be here," says Sharon Alviti, who brought her three grandchildren to help in any way.

"This was there last day of camp and they didn't want to go, they wanted to come here and do this," she explains.

Volunteers from all over the state were present, hoping to repair anything they could.

Diane Penza, the Executive Director of imPOSSIBLE Dream, says the amount of help is overwhelming, "Oh my God, I can't even put it into words."

Penza says the donations keep rolling in, "We've had lumber companies call, home depot, it's just been incredible."

This isn't the first time vandals targeted the playground; in 2007 vandals struck a first time. Now, Penza vows to be prepared by installing surveillance cameras that have since been donated to the organization.

Everyone agrees this set-back has just made the community this playground serves that much stronger.

"The name of the park is impossible dream, so anything is possible, we may come out of this three times as strong," says Penza.

Police say they are still working to identify the vandals, and have found three sets of footprints around the playground. Anyone with information is asked to contact Warwick Police at (401) 468-4200.

© WLNE-TV 2015