NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

September 26, 2013

Community came together for Brown School playground


Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Thanks to tireless volunteers and the City of Newburyport, the Brown School playground now boasts new playground equipment where the previous wooden structures stood. On Saturday, Sept. 14, we held a community build day to prepare the playground for its reopening. It was an amazing day for all participants. The hard work, talent and passion displayed by the volunteers on Saturday were truly moving. We spread a mountain of mulch, built a new timber retaining wall and cleaned up the space. Clearly we live in a city where residents and businesses alike recognize the value that playgrounds and park space bring to our community and understand the need to preserve them for the future. This week, amidst much student and community anticipation, the playground reopened.

Last week also we learned that the Brown School Park ballot initiative petition fell short by 75 signatories. Despite gathering more signatures than required, fewer than the required 1,057 signatures were approved and certified to place a non-binding question on the November ballot concerning the future of the playground at the Brown School.

While we are of course disappointed in this outcome, we are excited at the same time, because this process showed us just how much support and concern there is from Newburyport voters that a park be kept on the grounds of the Brown School after the school ceases operation next year. Petition signatures included those of the mayor, current city councilors, and candidates for mayor, council and School Committee. We will now continue to pursue the same end, a permanent park, with different means.

The Friends of Brown School Park would like to thank everyone who devoted time, materials or effort to these truly remarkable community endeavors, including:

Mark and Bevin Andrews, Mike and Robin Bridges, Nicole and Jamie Chabot, Everett Chandler, Christine Craig, Bill Daniels-WCD Landscape & Masonry, Tracey Fortier, Ray Gilfus, Councillor Tom Jones, Ahmer and Afroz Khan, Sean King, Meghan Kinsey, Dan Lamb, Lois McNulty, Jessica Moore, Newburyport Elementary PTO, Don Pollard, Colby Pollard, Sean Reardon, Sue Simon, Travis Sumner, Francesca Pomerantz, Misza Tymowski, Julie Werhwein. Robin O’Connell, Valerie Natoli Paquette and Paul Paquette, Paula Chambers, Lyndi Lanphear, Sheila and Jerry Mullins, Mary Foley, Elizabeth Hopkinson, Lauren Woods, Janis Snell, Kim Kolesha, Byron Lane, Jennifer McCormick, Danielle Poupon, Kathy Heywood, Susan Acquaviva.

Also, Our Secret Garden Preschool and Port Sheet Metal for donating materials. Dunkin Donuts, Oregano Pizzeria & Ristorante and Starbucks for keeping our volunteers well-fueled. Thomas Ellrott of Thomas Ellrott Custom Landscapes and Chris Gampel of Oceanfront Landscape & Construction for use of tools, machinery and invaluable landscaping expertise. And special thanks to Lise Reid, Newburyport Parks administrator, and Amy Sullivan, Brown School principal.

We hope to see you soon at the Brown School playground!

Lisa Bleicken, Joy Cowles, Greg Earls, Jared Eigerman, Ken Itrato, Amy King, Bruce Menin, Kim Turner

Chairs, Friends of Brown School Park