We were pretty excited to see a new playground go up in the neighbourhood. Never mind that it took well over a year to hang a couple swings and lay a rubber floor beneath them. Of course trees, or something green, or a little shade would be a lot to ask for in an Algeciras park. But, a couple of things to cover with graffiti and climb on…. hey, we’ll take it.
The impetus for the park came from the adjacent building under construction. It’s common for the city to require a developer to provide a community space when urbanizing city land. So what would the neighbourhood’s prize be for giving up this empty lot? I watched the building take shape with interest and hope. Children’s art center? Nope, too big. New modern elementary school? Nope, not institutional enough. Canadian Immigrant’s fitness, arts, tapas bar combo? Nope, no garden area.
After all my fantasizing Rogelio burst my bubble with the truth. The new neighbourhood playground is attached to a jail. OK, a minimum security, verging on half-way house facility, but still, it’s a jail. The prisoners will hang out at the playground during the day and then return to their cells at the local maximum security prison for the night.
And that is how you get a new playground in the Algeciras.