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Hollis group aims to start work on new playground

HOLLIS — With much support from the surrounding community, members of the Hollis Playground Project group hope to begin work on the town's new playground offerings sometime after the spring thaw.

During Monday night's Board of Selectmen meeting, project spokeswoman Anna Birch shared the latest updates on the project's progress.

Birch, who has been meeting regularly with the town's recreation commission as well as library and church trustees, said a full presentation on the proposed playgrounds would go before the board sometime in January.

Earlier this month, the Recreation Commission gave its unanimous blessings to Birch's proposal to bring new playground equipment, including ADA-approved accessible equipment, to the existing playground at Charles Nichols Field.

"Our public works crews have already done a great job of clearing away the brush in that area," Birch said. "It's quite impressive considering there was so much poison ivy and brush there.

Birch said the area is definitely in need of an upgrade since it is frequented by citizens of all ages.

"The church uses it, area senior citizens go there to sit, and teenagers go there after school," she said. "I think we could bring a lot to the table: more benches, more seating."

"It sounds like a great plan," Selectmen Chairman David Petry said.

Another new playground, located at the end of the running track near the baseball snack shack on the town's nearby Nichols Field is also under consideration.

The 30-by-30 foot site is one of few areas along Nichols Field that would accommodate a playground, Birch said, as the town fields are dominated by athletic events and the annual Old Home Days festivities.

Currently, there's a small swing set on Nichols Field, but the hope is to expand the site's playground offerings, with project officials noting that many parents attending sporting events on the town recreation fields and the athletes' younger siblings don't have much room to play in the area.

Birch said she was recently approached by members of the Hollis Rotary Club, who expressed interested in assisting with future fundraising efforts.

As it stands now, the plan is to raise funds privately for the bulk of both projects, rather than use taxpayer monies. Ultimately, members of the Hollis Playground Project hope to raise somewhere between $30,000 to $40,000.

Birch said other area businesses had also come forward wanting to lend a hand with the project.

Selectmen Vahrij Manoukian encouraged members of the Hollis Playground Project to attend an upcoming Rotary Club meeting.

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