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August 25. 2013 9:20PM

Greeley Park again eyed for Legacy Playground

NASHUA — For the second time, city officials voted to pursue Greeley Park as the future home of the state’s largest universally accessible playground, but it is still not a done deal.

Although the Board of Public Works is supporting Greeley Park, any major changes at the park would still need to be authorized by the Board of Aldermen, which will have the final say.

Earlier this year, organizers announced their desire to build Legacy Playground at Greeley Park where dated play equipment currently stands. Last week, Mayor Donnalee Lozeau presented a different layout that would place the playground at Greeley Park near the grilling and picnic area rather than at the site of the old play equipment, which was originally proposed.

This new idea, first suggested by Commissioner Kevin Moriarty, would allow families to remain at the picnic location while their children enjoy the new playground instead of having to pack up and walk to the other site where the existing play structures are stationed.

“We think that there really might be a shot here,” Mayor Donnalee Lozeau told the board last week. “I think this is a very interesting idea.”

With more than $100,000 already raised to build Legacy Playground, organizers are hoping to have a location for the new play structure secured by the end of the summer.

An effort has been under way in the city to build the state’s largest universally accessible playground designed for people of all ages and abilities. Former graduates of 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.

The playground will not only be designed for children and adults with mobility challenges, but also individuals with mental, hearing and sensory disabilities, as well as people with vision impairments. The mission is to have people with and without disabilities interacting and playing together.

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.

“Their heart is set on Greeley Park,” Lozeau said of the organizers. While Lozeau acknowledged she is unsure whether she will ultimately support the newest site proposal at Greeley Park, she stressed it is worth exploring.

She did note that the land near the grills would be convenient since trees would not have to be removed, and parking and restroom facilities are already available. If this site was selected, she suggested that the old playground equipment on the other side be taken down, drainage problems corrected and additional trees planted.

“This new concept looks really good,” said Commissioner Daniel Gagnon.

Commissioner Timothy Lavoie said he is also pleased with the idea. Commissioner Tracy Pappas was the only board member who did not support pursuing Greeley Park as the future home. She was hoping to see a layout of what the facility would look like at a different site within the city.

khoughton@newstote.com


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