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December 18. 2012 8:22PM

Greeley Park recommended for future playground site in Nashua

NASHUA - The city's next playground - and possibly the state's largest universally accessible playground - may have finally found a home.

An official with the Nashua Parks and Recreation Department is recommending that Leadership Greater Nashua build its future playground at Greeley Park along Concord Street. The Nashua Board of Public Works will review the recommendation on Thursday in a 2 p.m. meeting at 9 Riverside Dr.

"Greeley Park is the most visited park in the city. The playground equipment and the layout are outdated and really do not do the park justice," Nicholas Caggiano, superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department wrote in a memo to the Board of Public Works.

Caggiano went on to say that two locations were being considered for the new playground - Greeley Park and Sargents Avenue.

"In looking at the two potential locations, we are recommending the existing playground equipment at Greeley Park be replaced with a fully accessible playground for all ages to use and visit," he said.

The existing playground at Greeley Park has some drainage problems, and does not provide wheelchair accessibility, according to Caggiano, who said the new playground project could address some of those issues. Recent graduates from Leadership Greater Nashua are spearheading a massive community project aimed at raising $250,000 for the large play structure, which will be called Legacy Playground.

Organizers say the playground will be designed for people of all abilities, including children and adults with mobility challenges, in addition to individuals with mental, vision, hearing and sensory disabilities. The final design of the play facility has not yet been determined, as organizers are still soliciting feedback from the community to ensure that every type of impairment and disability is taken into consideration before the structure is built.

Although Caggiano agrees there is a need for upgraded playground equipment at the Sargents Avenue play site, there is already an alternative playground nearby at the Amherst Street School that can be utilized until those improvements are feasible.

The Legacy Playground team has already secured funds and pledges close to $70,000, he said earlier, adding fundraising efforts are continuing, and several area groups have already helped with financing.

"This playground, from the outside, will not look terribly different from any other playground, but every component will be laid out as fully accessible," Stein said previously. "Most people understand the term 'accessible,' but we want to build a playground that takes that concept much further to allow a person with any type of disability to not only get to the structure, but to use virtually every single component of it."

For more information about the project, or to make a donation, visit www.NashuaLegacyPlayground.com.

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Kimberly Houghton may be reached at khoughton@newstote.com.


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