Warren community celebrates new playground in wake of shooting

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Police have charged a teenager with the shooting of a 19-year-old near the Highland Terrace basketball courts last week but those who live at and work around the apartments aren’t letting what happened overshadow all of the good things going on there.

Dionte Catron, 17, is facing a felonious assault charge in the July 17 shooting. The victim, Darius Austin, was taken to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds around 8:30 that night.

Despite the shooting, residents are showing off the positive improvements they’re making there.

“We are out here at Highland Terrace. We’re having fun, this is what we do,” said a Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority (TMHA) maintenance man.

There was something to celebrate Friday at Highland Terrace.

“This is the first time in over two decades that there’s been something like this on this property,” said Rev. Todd Johnson, with Second Baptist Church.

That addition — a brand new playground.

“Every child deserves an opportunity to play and be a child, and every community deserves a resource where these types of things can be available to family and to youth,” Rev. Johnson said.

Construction of the playground began last week, just days after the shooting on the basketball courts.

“It was just something that I didn’t really think was gonna happen but I’m glad he survived,” said resident John-Tae Jones-Henderson.

“In that situation that occurred, there are no winners but positive outcomes can come out of it and we’ve already seen the positive outcomes,” Rev. Johnson said.

The playground is ready to be used by the roughly 250 kids under the age of 12 who live in that development.

“You know, you don’t got to be bored now. You can bring your little sisters, brothers, and everything out here to play. Older ones if they like playing basketball, they can play basketball. We got a baseball field and a big ol’ field to play football in,” Jones-Henderson said.

This part of the project is just one piece of a larger vision but was made possible by partnerships with other organizations, like Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (TNP).

“We’re just really honored to be able to contribute to the work that’s going on over at Highland Terrace,” said TNP Executive Director Matt Martin.

The property manager at Highland Terrace said they hope to add a picnic pavilion to that recreational area by the end of the summer.