By Maureen Schwab
Following what was a particularly cold and snowy winter, the warm days of summer are finally here. For the residents of Green Island, and for the many basketball and softball players from throughout the city, summer means heading down to Crompton Park.
On a recent weekday evening, as I strolled through the park at early evening, I was delighted to see three softball games in progress, neighborhood children playing soccer on the tennis courts, and basketball on Cousey court. I was not so delighted to see, however, the sorry sight of many children playing on a dilapidated play structure, and the sorriest sight of all; one lousy broken swing hanging by its solo chain, looking much like a torture device you would find in the Tower of London.
At one time, Crompton Park had a bank of high flying swings at the Endicott St. playground. The baby swings were over on the corner of Canton Street. The swings at Crompton Park have been gone for at least two years. How did we loose our swings, the corner stone of every playground I have ever visited? Why is this being overlooked by the Parks Dept?
I have participated in several park walk-throughs with several different city councilors in the past five years. Residents made requests for change, politicians said they would see what can be done, and nothing had ever really changed in the past years, except for further deterioration of playground equipment at Crompton Park.
All of the city pools were all closed last summer, and in a high stakes, winner takes all game of which neighborhood gets the one city pool, Green Island and Crompton Park won. A $2.5 million pool was approved in Sept. 2009, and will be open to the public July 1, 2011. In the process of building the pool, a play structure was removed, and an empty lot now sits in its place. .
In a series of three meetings held last fall by the Park and Rec Commission, the residents of Green Island had the opportunity to tell representatives of Weston and Sampson what hey would like Crompton Park to look like and include if a makeover for the park were possible.
Following the three meetings, a front page story appeared in the paper. In bold print it stated” MAKEOVER PLANNED …$6.3M slated for Crompton Park” Really? I thought to myself, this is great! As I read through the article, my happy feeling started to disappear, Mr. Antonelli, assistant commissioner of public works and parks is quoted as saying” we will have to find money to fund this project. The only project that will be funded is a new playground that is expected to be completed this summer (2011)”. This structure will be located at the corner of Harding and Canton streets.
A legal notice appeared on 6/17/11, asking for bids to install playground equipment, safety surfacing, fencing and appearances at Crompton Park. The cost of this project is estimated at $175,000. When the new structure goes up, the playground on Endicott Street will come down. How soon this will happen remains to be seen. In the mean time, children will continue to come to Crompton Park to play on dilapidated equipment and perhaps wish for a ride on a swing that may of may not ever appear.