Gary Ferragamo is the president of the Point of Pines Beach Association and he, like other residents of the Pines, is excited about the restoration of the Gibson Park playground.
“I’m here to support Elle (Baker), who is on our board of directors, and to help out the project with the Association or personally,” said Ferragamo, who looks forward to accompanying his eight-year-old son, Anthony, to the new playground when it opens.
Elle Baker, project planner for the Reveag and Economic Development, moderated a Gibson Park Community Playground Build planning meeting Feb. 13 at the Point of Pines Yacht Club. City Planner Frank Stringi, Ward 5 Councillor John Powers, and Ricky Serino, aide to State Rep. RoseLee Vincent, joined many residents at the meeting.
Priscilla Nickerson, community liaison who has participated in three previous playground community builds, and Linda DeMaio, representative of Mayor Brian Arrigo’s Office, also participated in the planning session.
Baker said the park is currently undergoing a $460,000 renovation project that includes an expansion of the playground area, new fencing, the replacement of the safety surface, new walkways, new playground equipment, the restoration of the ballfield, the installation of an irrigation system at the ballfield, and the installation of an electrical conduit so security lighting can function.
“Construction began in October and it is ongoing with an expected on-site inspection by June 1,” said Baker. “We intend to hold a ribbon-cutting and open the park no later than the second week in June.”
Baker said the purpose of the meeting was to plan a community build for the dates of May 17-19, at which time residents will join with experts from Playworld, a playground equipment manufacturing company, to put together the playground structures such as the slides, swings, fire trucks, and a lobster trap climber.
“Different teams will work together to assemble the structures,” said Baker. “It’s really the most fun part of the process. All residents are welcomed to join us and participate in the community build.”
The new playground at Gibson Park will be geared toward boys and girls, ages 2 through 12, while the baseball field will be open to all residents. There are three tennis courts at Gibson Park that were restored in an earlier project.
Interestingly, residents at the meeting were able to cast their ballots for the colors of the new playground equipment.
“I voted for light blue, dark blue, yellow, and tan, which is like sandy,” said Ferragamo.
Ferragamo credited city and state officials for “stepping up to help us unify our local community” with the new playground.
“Point of Pines is a special area,” said Ferragamo. “I love living here. I’m been here 19 years and I have no desire to leave and go anywhere else.”