PORTSMOUTH — A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Four Hearts Foundation and the Town Council has been approved so that a new community playground can be built on Turnpike …
PORTSMOUTH — A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Four Hearts Foundation and the Town Council has been approved so that a new community playground can be built on Turnpike Avenue.
Now comes the hard part: fund-raising.
There are many different ways to get involved and to benefit the Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by Kateri Chappell Buerman and Laurel Handel Polselli, who are leading efforts to build the playground entirely on donations:
• Open play at the CFP Arts, Wellness and Community Center, 933 Anthony Road, for children ages 5 and under, from 10:15 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays through May. The entry fee is $5.
• Shop for a Cause from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, at the Newport Car Museum, 1947 West Main Road. The event will include complimentary food, beverages, raffles, live music, and beauty and wellness services while attendees shop an eclectic assortment of gifts – both car-themed and not – for all ages. Both the museum and Newport Indoor Golf will be open to enjoy, and entry is free.
• Giggles for Littles is a comedy show being planned at the CFP Arts, Wellness and Community Center.
• Donations are accepted at https://gofund.me/d4513a7a.
“Rebuilding the playground is about giving our children and community a place to play, grow and come together,” Polselli said.
Many Portsmouth residents may recall the wooden castle playground that used to stand on Turnpike Avenue. “Our goal is to bring this back to Portsmouth and create a place where our children and community members can create their own wonderful memories,” Buerman added.
Castle-type peaks were added to the design to bring back a little of that nostalgic playground that residents all loved, they said. “That playground was built as a labor of love by town and community members. We are doing the same here, version 2.0. And that is pretty special,” said Buerman.
The two women have been working directly with Meghan O’Brien from O’Brien and Sons in order to design their version of a bigger, better, safer and all inclusive of ages and ability playground.
They met with town officials, Town Council members, the Parks and Recreation Department and Department of Public Works at the playground, in order to learn their limitations and the regulations of the playground in terms of layout and safety protocols. After learning they had support from the town, Four Hearts Foundation — which represents the women’s four children — was born.
Wishlist of items
Keeping in mind the current footprint they have to work within, the mothers drew up a specific wishlist of features and items to include, after visiting nearly every playground in the state, and then some. Some of the wishlist includes: having the playground fully fenced in, a zip line, track, musical elements, age-appropriate and challenging and fun play areas, handicap-accessible swings and ramps. Even the colors of the playground are thoughtfully being chosen, they said.
Since mulch can be messy, it floods and requires maintenance, a soft/spongy ground was chosen. The women’s goal is to use the best materials in order to keep maintenance down.
“We hope to have money left over in order to improve the T-ball field. We imagine benches, a new shed for storage and added shade and seating for the parents and onlookers. This is a place for all of Portsmouth, no matter your age, to come and enjoy,” Polselli said.
For questions, comments or to reach out in order to get involved or volunteer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.