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Rising from Ruin is an on-going MSNBC.com special report chronicling two coastal Mississippi towns, Bay St. Louis and Waveland, as they rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

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This project is evolving. Our daily dispatches coverage has been retired. Click here to see what happened in the area between mid October and January 1, 2006.

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BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- Among the many signs that this town will return to better times in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is a shiny new playground in the heart of downtown.

The colorful facility, which sports four swings, a triple-wide slide, tiny teahouse, high-tech zip line and sand box, was bought to town by Kaboom!, a non-profit group that focuses on helping communities build playgrounds throughout the United States.

It’s the first of many playgrounds the group hopes to help bring to Katrina-damaged areas. Bay St. Louis topped the list thanks to the efforts of town natives Virginia Reynolds, Cheryl Goodnow and Joellyn Gilmore, according to Kaboom!

Community members themselves turned out 650-strong on Dec. 17 at Carol Vegas Park, which surrounds the Old City Hall, to do the actual construction. Roped off for a week to let the concrete cure, the playground was opened for use over the Christmas weekend.

A number of children and teens took advantage of a sparkling afternoon on Monday to try out the new equipment.

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30 COMMENTS

Thank You!!!! We lived only 3 blocks from the playground and I took my kids there at least 3 times a week. The tree is what my son, 6, misses the most. We still have not returned home yet we are just waiting for housing. To see the park after the storm was terrible so many memories seem to be washed away with the water and winds to see it be rebuilt I know new memories will be made. Again I thank you.

Wow i think that that was very thoutful thing to do to the hurricane victums they must have been very happy to know that you were thinking about them.

I like the description of the playground it sound's fun to play on.

At KaBoom!s U-Play Oct 2005 I, along with 200 others from around the country and Canada was moved to tears by Virginia's drive to bring a safe place to play to the kids of this area. The ongoing efforts of KaBoom!, Home Depot and thousands of volunteers will help people heal and rebuild their lives. Bravo!

The park is great. I frequently bring my grand-children and spend hours there. Plenty to keep them busy. I am glad tht, in light of all the suffering the people of Bay St. Louis have been through, someone still remembers the children.

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