Hundreds of volunteers will begin building the new Joey’s Park playground this Friday, Sept. 27, but for more than a month, professional contractors have worked continuously to prepare the site.
Crews from the James W. Flett Company, the F.E. French Company, Mahoney Oil and Belmont’s Department of Public Works in the past seven weeks have demolished the old play structure, excavated a 16-inch deep drainage area and, with the help of D. Muzzioli Associates, dug more than 200 post holes.
“The prep work has been both intense and essential. We are enormously grateful for the commitment of these community-minded individuals and organizations,” explains Diane Miller, an architect and co-chair of the Friends of Joey’s Park.
“Now we are ready for the hundreds of volunteers of all skill levels who will have the chance to help make the new Joey’s Park a reality.”
Among those involved in preparing the site for this year’s build are people who helped build the original Joey’s Park. Frank and Martha French had two young sons at the time of the 1989 community build. Now those sons have their own company, the F.E. French Company. Father and sons have been working together to get the site ready for the new Joey’s Park build.
Help Build Joey’s Park: 3 Easy Steps:
Choose your time: Friday 9/27 – Sunday 9/29 and Wed, 10/9 – Columbus Day, 10/14
Choose your activity: Build, registration, kids room, food or tools.
Sign up now: www.joeyspark.org
“It was a wonderful experience to help build the first playground,” recalls Martha French.
“Now we have grandchildren who will use the new Joey’s Park. We’re getting it ready for the next generation.”
Dante Muzzioli, the owner of the well-known landscaping and general contracting company bearing his name, not only helped build the original park, but also quietly helped maintain it; mowing grass, planting bushes and power washing the structure. He felt a special connection to the project because the playground was built in memory of a local boy, Joey O’Donnell.
“It’s nice to know that after all these years, people still remember Joey,” says Muzzioli.
“Joey’s Park is an important part of the community and a wonderful place for kids.”
It's that spirit from those who assisted back a quarter century ago that helps today's organizers with the work that his ahead.
“People involved in the first community build tell us time and again that it was an amazing experience, a chance to work together with friends, both old and new, to create something lasting and tangible,” says Ellen Schreiber, co-chair of the Friends of Joey’s Park.
“We are looking forward to creating both a memorable experience for our volunteers and a one-of-a-kind playground for the community.”
The community build takes place over nine days. The pre-build begins Friday, Sept. 27 and ends Sunday, Sept. 29. Volunteers will complete the project during a six-day stretch Wednesday, Oct. 9 through Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 14.
“We encourage everyone to pick a shift at a convenient time: morning, afternoon or evening,” says Miller.
“You can help with the build, registration, tools, food or in our Joey’s Park Kids Room. There’s a job for everyone and we encourage everyone to be part of this community-wide experience.”
Students can earn community service hours working on the build, although everyone on the work site needs to be at least 14 years old. Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29, students ages 10 to 13 can sign up to help prep the wood next to the work site. Older kids can also work as counselors in the Joey’s Park Kids Room which will be open to children ages four and older throughout the build.
There is an option for the whole family to get involved in the build on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 14 as part of the annual community service day “Belmont Serves” when families with children ages four and older are invited to help spread wood chips across the playground area.
The whole community is invited to celebrate the completion of the playground on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 14 at 4 pm.
Sign up in only two minutes to help build the new Joey’s Park playground at www.joeypark.org.