Manchester school playground completedBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
November 13. 2017 9:51PM
MANCHESTER — Following months of construction, the wish for a new neighborhood playground at Gossler Park Elementary School has gone from dream to reality.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the grand opening of the playground is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. at Gossler Park Elementary School, 145 Parkside Ave.
As part of the Manchester Community Schools Project and the Manchester Neighborhood Health Improvement Strategy, the city health department started working on redesigning the Gossler School campus several years ago in partnership with the Southern New
Hampshire Planning Commission, which drafted a health impact assessment. The assessment, funded by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, looked at redesigning the school grounds to support health, recreation and safety.
City health officials then received an anonymous donation of $35,000, matched by funding from the Manchester School District, and an additional $15,000 awarded by the Cogswell Benevolent Trust.
The last piece of the puzzle fell into place this summer, when Queen City officials learned Manchester was one of 25 communities nationwide to be selected as a grant recipient under a new healthy living program run by The Walt Disney Company and National Recreation and Park Association. The Manchester Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries Division received a $35,000 grant under the new “Meet Me at the Park” healthy living program.
Twenty-five park and recreation agencies and cities nationwide were selected to receive Meet Me at the Park grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to support projects that increase access to play spaces in local parks for children and families. Meet Me at the Park is a collaboration between the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company to “bring the magic of parks and recreation to children and families across the United States,” according to the program’s website.
“NRPA is proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company to help more children and families experience the benefits of play,” said Kellie May, NRPA director of health and wellness, in a statement. “By increasing access to play spaces, this program will also provide new activities that support healthy lifestyles in local communities.”
The new playground includes many innovative play structures designed specifically to promote inclusion of all children, across a broad range of ages from early childhood to upper elementary.
“We were looking for a few signature pieces where all kids could be excited about playing on the playground,” said Don Pinard, Chief of Parks for the city.
“We are extremely grateful for the generous donations that have made this project possible,” said Lori Upham, Principal of Gossler Park Elementary School.