Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park cleanup
In 2008 and 2009 Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park was voted “Best place to take your kids” in the FutureHeights “Best of the Heights” poll. Twice a year, the community gathers to clean and maintain it.
But do you know how the playground came about?
In 1991 the existing playground was worn out and the Coventry PTA decided to do something about it. It formed the Coventry School Playground Committee, which, by early 1992, had student drawings of what they wanted on their ‘dream’ playground.
When initial estimates came in at nearly $300,000, organizers realized the project was beyond the scope of a PTA subcommittee, and nonprofit Coventry P.E.A.C.E. (People Enhancing A Child’s Environment)—playing off the school’s “peace” theme—was incorporated.
The excitement of a new playground generated many volunteers from the parents, neighborhood community, students and teachers, and much of the work dedicated to fundraising. The partial list of fundraising activities undertaken included candy and bake sales, concerts by local musicians, an Asian dinner put on by a local grocery store, lemonade stands at community events (these are ongoing), T-shirts, and a performance at the Dobama Theatre.
As money was being raised, the design team subcommittee selected Learning Structures Inc. to design the playground based on input from students, parents and the community. Its charge was to design, provide a list of materials needed and be on site during the “New England barnraising” style construction.
Construction week was scheduled, rain or shine, from the first week of October 1993. And did it rain! The downpour was legendary, turning the construction site into ankle-deep mud.
Each work day began at 8 a.m. and ended at 5:30 p.m. Assignments: building the playground, child care, and food. The anticipated need was for at least 400 volunteers.
The results are there for everyone to see, use and enjoy.
Please join us for the spring P.E.A.C.E. playground and garden cleanup, on Saturday, April 17 from 9 to 3. Volunteer as much time as you can spare that day. Yes, it is work, but it is also fun to be part of what makes the park so notable. Lunch is served, garden tools and gloves are provided.
Joanne Campbell is a member of the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Board, and Diane Mogren is its former president and secretary.