Alongside many other proud West Hillhurst community members, Cody McCaw watches her son Massimo, 4, climb across the helicopter apparatus at the new Helicopter Playground grand opening yesterday.

McCaw said the playground, located on 5 Avenue and 27 Street NW, has brought the community together.

“The build was a great way for everyone to get to know each other,” said McCaw.

Marie Wildenborg and Jennifer Baluta came up with the idea four years ago, when they realized the old playground was rusting.

Another community member thought that the theme should be helicopters because the playground is in the flight path for the STARS helicopter to the Alberta Children’s Hospital and the Foothills Hospital.
“Kids would look up and be enthralled with the helicopters,” said Wildenborg.

The helicopter theme runs through the playground. One piece of equipment is the shape of a helicopter and is located on a special X made from recycled tires that marks its landing pad.

Wildenborg and Baluta said the community helped out by raising $35,000 of the $200,000 needed for the playground to be built and with more than 100 volunteers came to see the construction of it in September.

“We had no idea the number of families that lived here until we built this. It’s been an amazing way to bring us all together,” said Baluta.

The grand opening saw the landing of the STARS helicopter and free STARBEAR teddy bears for the first 150 children.

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