Brand-new Detroit playground equipment honors boy's efforts

By Cassandra Spratling


Detroit Free Press

A 10-year-old boy’s quest to improve the play space in his Detroit neighborhood has resulted in spanking new playground equipment.

The new playground equipment at Zussman Park, 3800 Waverly St. on Detroit’s west side, will be unveiled at a ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday.

The family-owned Playworld Systems donated nearly $50,000 worth of its Activo Kino equipment to the city of Detroit in honor of Joshua Smith.

Joshua heard a radio report about the city’s financial crisis and jumped into action to help the city in hopes that doing so would improve the deteriorating park in his Russell Woods neighborhood.

By selling organic lemonade, popcorn, water and other healthy treats, Joshua raised more than $3,500 to help Detroit out of its financial deficit and improve the park, which was overgrown with grass, weeds and malfunctioning equipment. The then-9-year-old boy had set a $1,000 goal.

Joshua’s efforts attracted the attention of people worldwide, including the Pennsylvania-based Playworld Systems, a leading manufacturer of imaginative playground and fitness equipment.

“Joshua’s story reminds us that small efforts can have a major impact on a community,” said Matthew Miller, CEO of Playworld Systems. “He inspired us and many others around the world to act, and as a result, thousands of children will have a state-of-the-art playground to enjoy at Zussman Park.”

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