Athletes Turned Pro Revitalize Playground

READING, Pa - A foundation headed up by two NFL players is working to make a city neighborhood a bit brighter.

One of the players involved is returning to his roots to motivate the home team to take charge.

People just break stuff and don't even care, said Alim Tarwally. It makes people sad. And now my mom doesn't even let me come to the park really any more.

Barbey Playground at Jefferson and Schuylkill avenues in Reading is often a hot spot for graffiti, and emptied dime bags littered all over the place.

There's glass everywhere at the park, said Trevoun Wilder. And I think that they should clean up all the trash.

Most of the playground set is either broken or marred with foul language, and the kids say they're ready for something new.

Leading the charge is Number 88 Tampa Bay Buccaneer, John Gilmore.

Monday, the Reading native, was right across from Barbey Playground at the Union Community Center, brainstorming with residents on how they can fix up the park on their own.

We can't really rely on local government anymore, they have their own problems, said Gilmore. This whole program is about empowering the community for them to take ownership of their parks.

The idea isn't new.

Thanks to the Gilmore Henne Community Fund that Gilmore heads up with Miami Dolphin Chad Henne, residents and businesses around 2nd and Oley gave their park a makeover in 9 days.

You know, people told us we were crazy in trying to fix it up in 30, said Gilmore.

He says he's ready to do whatever it takes, even if it means going from door to door, asking for help and labor.

This could lead to something bigger than just parks and recs, said Gilmore.

One NFL star looking beyond the end zone for a good cause.

A fundraiser is planned for June 25 at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center in Reading.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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