Volunteers rebuild Minneapolis park at Jenny Lind after SUV chase, crash back in June

- In less than eight hours Saturday, roughly 300 volunteers built a new playground at Jenny Lind Elementary School in North Minneapolis.

The new park is a symbol of safety for families after three kids were run over earlier this year. It took less than one day to rebuild it.  

It was about three months ago the Peltier Family was out playing when an SUV veered off of the nearby street right toward them.

Since that day, the family and others at the school have been concerned about safety.

Administrators hope this will instill the carefree nature kids and families should have when playing on a playground.

“There’s been real serious ups and downs,” said Nicolle Peltier, whose kids were run over near Jenny Lind.

With each hammer of a nail, scoop of a shovel and stroke of a brush Saturday, Nicolle Peltier says it gets a little easier.

“We’re actually not standing too far away from where two of my children were completely run over, and one was swung off of the swings,” she said.

On June 11, Nicole’s kids were playing in the park near Jenny Lind Elementary when an SUV, running from police, veered off Dupont Avenue, drove onto the tennis courts and crashed into the swing set.

Since that day, Peltier and her kids have been trying to heal.

“When we first got here Lilly had grabbed Kayden because we all come together, and she said 'do you guys remember you guys got hit by the car over there?'” Peltier said of her kids’ reaction.

Helping build a new playground at Jenny Lind was a big step in that healing process.

“Right here there’s a lot of anxiety, but back where were doing the build it’s pretty therapeutic. It’s nice to be able to be a part of a healing process for me,” Peltier said.

The new playground, built in just one day, is farther from the street from where the SUV drove, sitting closer to the school and symbolizing safety and renewal.

“We're looking for a way to have healing in our community, and bringing people out today and actually put their hands together and rebuild something for our students,” said Elizabeth Corris, the assistant principal at Jenny Lind Elementary. “You can’t put dollars and sense on what we’re building here today. What we’re doing as a community is trying to create a safe environment."

Volunteers hope the new park is a safe environment built where kids can be kids and where parents don't have to worry. It’s also where Peltier and her family can continue to heal. 

“It actually has helped a lot,” Peltier said. “So were just really happy, and we feel good and confident that this is going to help us at this school.”

This new playground was built by volunteers from Foresters Financial and Kaboom, which did this in a very short amount of time.

Foresters Financial said that they would donate some barriers along Dupont Avenue as well, to keep cars from coming anywhere near the families playing here in the park.

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