The effort to build a new playground at Patton Park has blown past its initial goal and now has a March groundbreaking in sight.
Already, most of the existing equipment, except for the swings, have been removed from Patton Park. Town Manager Michael Lombardo said that the old equipment has been brought back to the Department of Public Works to be rehabilitated and if it is still usable it will be installed at the park on School Street, which right now has two slides, a few swings and a picnic table.
"We've had some requests from some citizens in that area," Lombardo recently told the Board of Selectmen.
The effort to build a new playground at Patton Park began nearly two years ago.
Billy Boardman, one of the co-chairmen of the Friends of Patton Park, said that $240,000 has been collected.
"We're thrilled about it," he said.
The group has set a $150,000 fundraising goal.
"It exceeded the minimum target," Boardman said.
While the formal fundraising goal has been reached, Boardman said contributions are still being accepted.
In addition, many "extremely generous" in-kind contributions have come in, for everything from graphic design to landscaping materials.
The total includes money raised from selling bricks that will form a walkway from the park's parking lot to the playground. Boardman said the walkway will show the broad community support that the playground received and "gives it a lot of personality." The committee sold 350 bricks.
The removal of most of the old equipment is a "great, tangible sign of progress," Boardman said.
Boardman said it is realistic to expect the project to get underway in the spring. Lombardo told Selectmen that installation of the new playground will happen "as soon as possible" in the spring.