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Nashua aldermen set to discuss Legacy Playground plan

Union Leader Correspondent

January 13. 2014 8:07PM

NASHUA — Following months of debate, the Board of Aldermen will soon vote on whether to allow a new, fully accessible playground to be built at Greeley Park.

A proposed resolution is expected to be presented to aldermen tonight regarding Legacy Playground, a future play structure that has yet to find a home following skepticism from some local residents.

According to the newest proposal, the playground will be constructed on the west side of Greeley Park behind the existing stone house at the end of the picnic area. The playground would be no larger than 12,000 square feet, and no mature, healthy trees would be removed during installation of the playground, according to conditions stated in the proposal.

If approved by aldermen, the old playground equipment at Greeley Park — which is in a different section of the park — will be removed and the vacant space will revert to a passive recreation area, says the resolution being sponsored by at least seven aldermen.

Legacy Playground was first introduced more than a year ago when former graduates from Leadership Greater Nashua began spearheading a community project to raise $250,000 for the state’s largest universally accessible playground designed for people of all ages and abilities. To date, more than $130,000 has already been raised to build the structure.

Organizers have studied several potential sites to locate the new playground, including Labine Park and Sargent Avenue Park. However, Greeley Park was the group’s first choice, and the Nashua Board of Public Works previously supported that site for the park’s future home.

Still, any major changes to Greeley Park must be authorized by the Board of Aldermen. The board will be presented with the resolution tonight, at which time the proposal will receive its first reading. The matter will then be assigned to an aldermanic committee for further review and analysis before making a final recommendation to the board.

Alderman Paul Chasse, Ward 6, said previously that he is concerned about having a new playground constructed at Greeley Park, primarily because the park is already bustling with activity on the weekends and is creating parking congestion along Concord Street.

Chasse said that in the future, city officials might consider restricting Greeley Park to Nashua residents only since many visitors are traveling from Massachusetts.

“We don’t have a lot of parking,” Tracy Pappas, commissioner of the Board of Public Works, said earlier. “Everyone is competing for the same space and the same parking.”

Pappas said previously that she would prefer the handicapped accessible playground be constructed at Sargent Avenue Park, which she believes would be more ideal for individuals with disabilities.

Others are highly supportive of the Greeley Park site for the playground, including Jan Martin, special education director in Nashua.

“I cannot imagine a better use for Greeley Park,” Martin said at a recent public hearing on the proposal.

The Board of Aldermen will meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Nashua City Hall.

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