Hundreds of volunteers apply extreme makeover to Congress Heights Recreation Center in SE D.C.

More than 700 volunteers pulled out their toolboxes, rolled up their sleeves, and got dirty today, to give Congress Heights Recreation Center in Southeast D.C. an extreme makeover.

The area now houses a completely renovated park and recreation center. Neighbors say these are much-needed improvements for community safety.

Community Day is all about giving kids a safe place to play. The last time Congress Heights Recreation Center got this kind of attention was back in 1998.

This is the 20th year the District of Columbia Building Industry Association brought together designers from competing real estate and construction firms for park improvements.

"When you have the community that comes out after this and they're just so amazed, that's probably one of the best things about this," says Mike Norton, DCBIA's event co-chair.

Taking shape is a new promenade between the basketball and tennis courts, and a community garden and pavilion for picnicking. Play zones are going in and a colorful mural is going up, among many other upgrades.

"This is amazing. It's wonderful," says Iris Johnson, who has lived in Congress Heights for six years. "This is exactly what was missing. It's somewhere the kids can go and play to communicate. It's wonderful."