Playground in memory of Jesse Lewis

STAMFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Piece by piece, section by section, work began Friday on a playground in honor of Jesse Lewis, one of the children who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“This project is contagious and infectious,” said Bill Lavin, founder of Where Angels Play. “It’s just filled with love and the pride and dedication, commitment, to these children.”

Lavin’s foundation has been building 26 playgrounds in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey in honor of the 26 people killed in Newtown. But there’s also a dual purpose. The playgrounds are being built in areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

“It really puts things into perspective when you’re out on a build with 300, 400, 500 volunteers that ask for nothing but to help somebody, to help a community rebuild and to hopefully help a family rebuild,” said Toni Giordano of Where Angels Play.

The playground for Lewis is located right on the sand at West Beach.

“When Scarlett, Jessie’s mom, heard about the location she thought it was a great idea and loved it as well,” said Gina Aiello, chairman of the Stamford build project.

This project is considered a milestone. This is playground number 20. Six more playgrounds will be built between now and the beginning of the summer.

Each playground has a common meaning and purpose.

“The tragedy was a loss of innocence, so to focus on kids getting out to play and having moms and dads spend quality time with their kids,” Lavin said.

Jesse’s playground will be finished over the next two days and dedicated on Sunday.

A benefit concert will be held tomorrow in Stamford to raise money for the playground construction costs. It will be at Tiernan’s Bar and Restaurant on Main Street from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door.

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