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BURBANK : Playground Expected to Be Built Soon

Thanks to a little girl’s wish and Jay Leno’s generosity, Burbank should have a new park playground by the end of April.

The project, to be called the Tonight Show Children’s Playground, will be built in Johnny Carson Park adjoining NBC Studios, the City Council decided Tuesday.

The new facility is the result of hard work by resident Claire Berger, officials said.

Berger, mother of a 5-year-old daughter, Jenna, and a 3-year-old son, Sam, said, “My prime motivating factor was that I would like to have a park within their neighborhood which they will truly be able to call their own.”

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It was Jenna’s wish to see a playground, so she and her mother launched a fund-raising campaign after city officials said they could not afford to build it.

“At the time, we didn’t have the money in the budget to pay for it, and Claire wouldn’t let that stop her,” said Janice G. Bartolo, deputy director of Burbank parks and recreation.

From April to August, Berger, a professional comedian who warms up television studio audiences, raised $30,150, nearly half of it--$15,000--coming from “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno. Walt Disney Studios and NBC Studios donated $5,000 each, and the rest came from neighbors and local businesses.

Bartolo said the playground will be built with recycled plastics.

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