By Dyke Hendrickson
---- — NEWBURYPORT — City councilors are scheduled to meet Monday at 7:30 p.m., at City Hall, and one item on the agenda is a transfer of $20,000 to “parks maintenance” to restore a playground that was demolished recently.
Last week residents of the South End launched an online petition asking that councilors consider purchasing playground equipment for the park site on the property of Brown School. Aging recreational structures were recently removed, and residents expressed concern that youngsters would not have a park to play in this summer.
Councilors are likely to consider a $20,000 transfer from free cash for this purpose, according to city officials.
This week almost three dozen residents attended a meeting to talk about putting up playground equipment at the Brown School. Existing equipment was taken down by the city earlier this month, due to safety concerns. But the move took neighbors offguard, many of whom have children who played at the park behind the school.
In recent days Friends of the Brown School Park have organized “to urge the city of Newburyport to revitalize and preserve this resource, designate it as a neighborhood park space and work with South End residents to ensure the park continues to be a recreational, open space resource for residents of all ages.”
More than 400 signatures were aggregated on an online petition, with the intent of showing municipal leaders that a playground, even a temporary one, is a necessity in the “thickly settled” neighborhood.
Also, residents appear to be making plans for the day when the Brown School is closed in the hope of preserving open space for both youngsters and adults.
Classes at the Brown School will end in June 2014, with students slated to enter to new Bresnahan Elementary School in September 2014.