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The playground in Cruz Bay, St. John, was damaged by the 2017 hurricanes.

More than five years after hurricanes Irma and Maria damaged the Cruz Bay playground adjacent to the Virgin Islands National Park visitors center, construction of a new playground is set to begin Oct. 1 with an expected completion by the end of this year.

The effort was initially launched in 2018 with the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park’s offer to replace the damaged fence, and the project soon snowballed into a complete rebuild. Community meetings were held to discuss design elements, and a 2021 $350,000 donation by Dr. Steven Paul and his wife, Jann, kicked off a matching campaign by the Friends.