October 17: A year ago this month I closed the Butler playground because the equipment failed a safety inspection I had commissioned. There had been complaints about the quality, upkeep, and safety of the grounds and play equipment. Not only was the Butler playground inspected, but also Joey’s Playground and the Burbank lot. Joey’s Playground is in the planning stages for replacement, and the Burbank received some minor modification to the ground area to comply with safety and accessibility standards. The big project was the Butler site. Through efforts of the Butler Playground Planning Committee, the Butler PTA, the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, a special Town Meeting appropriation, and several generous private and public donors, within nine months sufficient funds were raised to proceed with demolition and replacement. The new playground will comply fully with safety standards and the Americans with Disabilities Act. With the appropriate annual maintenance for which I have committed the School Department, the new facility should last for 25 years of active use.
Saturday, October 17, there will be a “community build” for the Butler Playground. Under supervision of the equipment vendor, adult volunteers from throughout Belmont are invited to help erect the equipment. Work will begin at 8:00 Saturday morning and conclude, we hope, by 4:00 that afternoon. After the equipment has been installed, the contractor will lay a rubberized play surface. Any adults willing to help for a few hours to construct the new playground should call the Butler School (617-993-5550) so that the building crew knows the number of volunteers available and at what times.