During the early morning hours of Monday, June 1, the OurSpace playground at Recreation Park on Binghamton’s West Side was burned to the ground. As police continue to investigate who set the playground on fire and why our community has already begun efforts to clean up and rebuild.

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OurSpace was the brainchild of Binghamton mom Jen O’Brien and when it was completed, the 16,000 square-foot playground was a space that welcomed families of all needs to the largest fully accessible playground in the entire State of New York. OurSpace was designed as a safe place where children of all abilities and backgrounds would be able to play together.

Families from all across the Southern Tier region would drive to Recreation Park so that their children could play at OurSpace and the loss of the playground is hitting people hard. People like Kris Yelverton who wrote on his Facebook page that the playground was “a sign of UNITY.” Yelverton also said that his family would drive all the way to Binghamton because OurSpace was the best playground around and because his kids “had so much to explore and experience at this wonderful safe place. A world of fun! They were exposed to diversity, other cultures, and people from here and all around.

Yelverton, a State Farm Agent out of Vestal was so overwhelmed with the feeling that OurSpace should be rebuilt that he and his family have donated $1,000 to make that happen.

In a message sent to us through Facebook Debra Yelverton wrote, He took his children there to explain what happened...and tried to put a positive spin on this mess. I thought it may be just the positive story we need right now to let people know we are strong together."

We agree and we thank the Yelverton family as well as the hundreds of other families who have come together to do whatever they're able to help rebuild OurSpace and make sure that all children have a safe, diverse, and all-inclusive place to play. If you would like to donate to the fund to rebuild the park, you can do that here.

We leave you from these words written by Kris Yelverton, "We encourage ALL to not lose hope and let hate and evil win ❤️"