New Jersey firefighters want to build 26 playgrounds in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut to help residents recover from one tragic event and memorialize the victims of another. The Sandy Ground Project, Where Angels Play aims to “connect two tragedies that eerily share the same name in a way that people can never forget.” Commissioned by the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NJFMBA), the project consists of 26 playgrounds, one named after each Sandy Hook victim. Each playground will be built in a town devastated by Hurricane Sandy, a natural disaster that brought leaders from the three states together as they sought relief aid.
Of the 12 playground locations announced, two are slated for the Connecticut towns of Westport and Stratford. Police estimate a cost of between $1.8 and $2 million, which the NJFMBA plans to raise through donations and fundraisers. Police, firefighters, teachers, and other volunteers will build the playgrounds.
The organization envisions each playground reflecting the personality of the slain victim to whom it’s dedicated–as long as family members support the effort.
“I can already hear the kids laughing and yelling as they run around on Catherine’s playground. I can hear the swing creaking as the kids pump their feet and touch the clouds…Kids can be kids and parents can breathe a little lighter knowing that they will all we watched over by the 26 angels,” wrote Jen Hubbard, mother of Catherine, in a testimonial printed on the website.