EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

May 1, 2014

Work starts to revive inner-city playground

Volunteers being sought for Saturday's effort

HAVERHILL — People who want to give inner-city kids a clean, safe place to play are rallying the community for support.

Their efforts will begin Saturday, when renovations to the old Portland Street Playground begin.

The citywide Earth Day cleanup on Saturday will also see the launch of the playground project.

Organizers said work on the playground will continue through mid-summer. The project is a partnership between the city, which has committed $25,000 to the renovation, and the volunteer organization Team Haverhill, which has pledged to match the city’s cash investment at the site.

Team Haverhill members and other volunteers will gather at 9 a.m. at the playground, which is on a stretch of Portland Street between 4th and 5th avenues. The playground was the site of a public school until the building was demolished decades ago.

Volunteers can help by bringing rakes, shovels, garden trowels and sturdy gloves. They will help clean and weed the playground.

Also on Saturday, a team of volunteers will begin adjustments to the front wall of the site, as requested by neighbors, to provide a better view from the street and improve security.

At 11 a.m., Team Haverhill will conduct an informal community meeting at the playground and provide information to neighbors and others interested in the project. Bright green hats, with the logo “Our Positive Place,” will be available for a donation to help to pay for new playground equipment. Hats are also available at Positive Images Gallery, 53 Wingate St.

Following additional site work in May, new playground equipment will be installed during a “Community Build” event on June 7. To volunteer for that event, please email your name, address, and phone number to info@teamhaverhill.org. No construction experience is necessary.

The Haverhill YMCA will host a Fun Night this Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. so community members can support the playground project. Children in kindergarten through grade five will have more than a dozen activity options, and will receive pizza and a drink. Cost is $10 per child or $20 per family. Register at the YMCA, 81 Winter St. More information is available at ekmanc@northshoreymca.org or by calling 978-374-0506, ext. 1603.

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