The proposal received considerable support from the members of the community attending the Jan. 11 meeting. No final decision was made regarding the grant, however, because all such proposals will not be voted on until the next meeting.
“We’re asking for $173,000; the total project cost is going be about $197,000,” said Chris DiIorio, Hull’s community development and planning director, who presented all town-proposed projects. The rest of the money for the playground improvements would be procured from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The necessity for the renovation is clear, according to Dilorio. “About a year and a half ago, the one play structure there had to be removed because of unsafe deterioration,” he said. “There’s not a lot going on out there now.It lacks a lot of amenities; there’s a lack of vegetation; there’s no shade, no benches.”
The play structure formerly located in the space had been there for almost 30 years, and, by the time it was removed, it was rusty and dangerous for children. It also had profanity and other messages unsuitable for young children written on it.
The renovated space would contain a raised play structure, a walkway compliant with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, a rain garden, and
parking spaces. The area is frequently flooded, making proper drainage and a raised structure necessary.
“For now, we just really need to get a play structure in there, something for the kids,” said DiIorio.
Greg Grey, a member of the CPC, voiced his support, saying: “Looking at it from a park and rec perspective, this playground is long overdue. They really need something put in as quick as we can do it for them.”
Christian Krahforst, Hull’s conservation administrator, was also supportive. “This area is a challenge, but if any use of this area is encouraged it should be recreational use,” he said.Paul Dunphy, a lifelong Hampton Circle resident, also urged that the repairs be made. He described the playground area as “the heart of this neighborhood” and said its deterioration “really is a shame.”
Other residents spoke up, pitching ideas for the space or volunteering to help. “Would love to see some seating and shade for people to sit and enjoy themselves,” said Susan Mann.
Gisela Voss, another resident, noted that “a few years back, kids walked around with a petition for a skate park … something unaffected by flooding.”
Jill Clemmer thanked everyone for their efforts, saying that “getting a public play area back at this location is so important.”