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Palm Beach Post (Florida)
Atlantic High School seniors Christelle Singh and Talia Vessal wanted to leave their mark on Delray Beach before heading to college.
If you call redesigning a Delray Beach parks leaving a mark, they've done it.
The city on Tuesday agreed to invest $51,000 in an outdoor fitness center designed by Singh and Vessal and planned for Delray's Barwick Park, on the corner or Lake Ida and Barwick roads and surrounded by homes.
The teens are students at Atlantic's International Baccalaureate engineering program, and built three-dimensional schematics for the outdoor fitness center as part of their senior project.
"We've been working on this nonstop for the past year, and we're so excited," Vessal said Tuesday. "So many people can say they wanted to do something or tried to do something, but how many can say they actually did it?"
And not many can say they did it in high school.
Shortly after developing the fitness center plan , Vessal and Singh pitched it to the city's parks and recreation department in August.
The parks department liked it, but needed funding.
"They have been working tirelessly for this," said Suzanne Fischer, who heads the parks department.
The $51,000 in city funding is bolstered by $48,000 in donations from residents and local businesses, including donations from two Boca Raton-based communication-tower firms: Vertical Bridges, which donated $25,000, and Phoenix Towers International, which gave $10,000.
More than $2,000 was raised through a GoFundMe page created by the teens.
Barwick Park has two playgrounds, a quarter-mile trail for walking or biking and acres of flat green space. The girls want to place outdoor fitness equipment that would be accessible to passersby.
They designed the layout with outdoor equipment company GameTime, then sought out donations to self-fund the project.
Vessal and Singh's goal was to build the outdoor fitness center before they graduated from high school. Vessal plans to study civil engineering at the University of Central Florida and Singh plans to study engineering, but hasn't decided on a school yet.
"I think until we see it in person, it will always feel unreal," Singh said.
Mayor Cary Glickstein praised the teens for their efforts. "It's nice to hear the public responded the way they did," he told the teens Tuesday. "Well done."
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