By Jonathan Phelps
---- — HAMILTON — The new playground at Patton Park is open, and it’s a big hit with the kids.
Yesterday afternoon, dozens of kids were seen running around, swinging and climbing at the park as their parents looked on.
The Friends of Patton Park raised more than $240,000 to buy and install the new equipment. Besides the standalone playground, there is also a zip line, swing sets and a dome swing.
It features two play areas, one for toddlers and another for children up to 12 years old. All play equipment is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The old playground had broken swings and an unsafe slide and did not have equipment large enough for elementary school-aged kids.
“It is a major improvement,” said Cara Fauci of Ipswich, who was there with her two children, ages 2 and 5. “We used to come to the old one and anxiously waited all summer for it to open. Every time we drove by, the kids would ask if it was open.”
The Friends of Patton Park will host a grand opening celebration for the playground tomorrow from 5 to 7 p.m. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic meal or can buy pizza from Daniella’s Pizza for $1 a slice. There will be music and an ice cream truck.
Bill Boardman, co-chairman of the friends group, said he was at the park yesterday with kids.
“It is encouraging to see so much activity at Patton Park, and the feedback we’ve been getting has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said.
The group had hopes that the playground would be a destination for people in surrounding communities. A group member recently talked to someone from Danvers who was going to eat dinner at the Black Cow restaurant after spending time at the park.
“That is exactly the impact on local businesses we were hoping for,” he said.
Matteo Dimartino of Ipswich was at the park yesterday with his four kids. He said there is something for all his kids, who range in age from 9 months to 8 years.
“They did a great job. The kids love it,” he said. “It keeps them very active, which is great. They get kind of bored with the simple structures. They never seem to tire here.”
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.