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New Playground to Take Patton Park 'To the Next Level'

Fundraising is well underway for a new playground at Patton Park that will not only offer newer play structures for children but could help bring some new customers to downtown businesses.

A – which in addition to providing fun for children may also may work as an economic development tool for downtown Hamilton – is getting closer to reality.

The Friends of Patton Park group says they have raised $70,000 toward the effort and have commitments for $90,000.

At Hamilton Annual Town Meeting in May, .

The plan to install new equipment at the park recently received an OK from the Planning Board, which “wholeheartedly endorsed” the proposal as part of the site plan review process. The plan will also go before the Hamilton Zoning Board of Appeals on July 11.

The plan does not outline the specific equipment that will be installed or exactly where any of it will be placed, since it will be put out to bid. It is not clear exactly how much equipment and what types will be able to be purchased, and each company has some of its own equipment.

“It will all fit within the existing footprint of where the play equipment is now,” said  Town Manager Michael Lombardo, who has been working with the Friends group.

Two of the more significant changes will be a new picket fence around the toddler area and a brick pathway from the parking lot to the playground. The toddler area will be in the shade, where the picnic area is located now, said Holly Regan of the Friends of Patton Park.

An image showing the proposed layout is attached to this story.

Planning Board member Claudia Woods wondered if there was any obligation to put up any more fencing between the playground and nearby Route 1A.  Regan said the additional fencing would be focused on the toddler area. The existing split-rail fence between the playground and road .

“I think it looks great – very exciting,” said Evelyn Shuman, a Planning Board member.

Regan said that in addition to replacing a small, aging and, in some cases, unsafe play equipment that is at the park now, new play equipment can draw families from nearby communities who may come to town and but lunch or dinner, for example, at a downtown business. The existing equipment has missing bolts, is rusting and does not meet current day safety requirements, Lombardo said. Plus, the existing playground is not as heavily used as the town’s demographics would suggest, he said.

Additionally, there is not a selection of play structures for the full range of children. There is no equipment for children older than 5.

The new playground will take “to the next level,” Lombardo said.

A visiting family may buy lunch sandwiches at or dinner food at , for example, Regan said.

“Parents go to different playground all the time,” said Brian Stein, a Planning Board member and parent.

In addition, a new playground will keep more Hamilton and Wenham families in town, possibly making them downtown shoppers too, Regan said.

Kelly O'Connor Murphy July 03, 2012 at 02:47 PM
The unfortunate truth is that little ones have to use the "potty" often and the facilities at the park are terrible. I wish that some focus would be placed on the restrooms. I realize that it would be an expensive project but it would make the park much more user friendly and enjoyable.

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