By Jonathan Phelps
---- — HAMILTON — The playground at Patton Park is gone. But there is no need to worry, a new one is on its way.
More than $240,000 has been raised by the Friends of Patton Park to make the project a reality. The group, made up of residents from Hamilton and Wenham, originally set a goal of $150,000.
“We were aware all along it would require more money for the level of quality we were hoping for,” said Bill Boardman, co-chairman of the group. “We are really excited about it and really appreciative of the support we received on all levels throughout the community.”
Construction of the playground is expected to be completed this spring.
Besides installing new play equipment — which will be located where the old equipment was — the plan calls for improved landscaping, lighting and drainage. The area will also include picnic tables and benches.
“It is going to be a really robust playground,” Boardman said. “There are going to be play structures for all ages.”
A pathway will also include bricks with donors’ names inscribed. Some 350 bricks were sold at $100 each to raise money, Boardman said.
Boardman said the plans are still being finalized as the project goes out to bid, but they have a “very good idea” of what the playground will look like. All play equipment will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he said.
The old playground had broken swings, an unsafe slide, and lack of equipment for toddlers and elementary school-age kids, the group said.
The Department of Public Works removed the old playground earlier this month. One set of swings remains.
Boardman called the effort to improve the playground “a classic private-public partnership.” The selectmen, town manager and recreation department in Hamilton have supported the project, he said.
“We really viewed this as an investment into the very heart of the community, which is Patton Park,” he said. “Clearly, the kids are going to benefit from the new and improved playground the most. But we feel the entire community is going to benefit.”
Boardman said the group is still collecting donations for further improvements. Those interested in donating should seek out the website at friendsofpattonpark.org.