Old Sparc Park sent off, new volunteer builders called

The crowd is gathered under the tent with the original builders to check out the contents of the time capsule that was buried in the park when it was built in 1991.

Judith O'Hara Balfe

Old Sparc Park sent off, new volunteer builders called

STANFORD — Town residents and friends gathered at the Stanford Recreation Center Saturday, March 2, to say goodbye to the 33-year-old playground structure that so many of Stanford’s children have grown up playing in.

Said Town Supervisor Wendy Burton, “It’s old, it’s wooden, so full of splinters, and it’s not ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act]-compliant.”

Although it was raining and cold, the pavilion at the park was crowded with people of all ages. There was fresh popcorn from Big Rock Farm, homemade donuts from Big Rock Market, hot coffee from All That Java, and music courtesy of DJ Jared Rosenberg from Not Donuts Records, all free.

Burton was enthusiastic, saying: “I’m thrilled. So many people have come, even with the rain. It’s a dream come true. This is a 40-year event, bringing the community together for the sake of the children.”

One of the purposes of the gathering was to impress upon people the need for volunteers to build the new park.

The original park was built in five days. The new park will take eight days, from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., completely by volunteers. Tools are needed, to be donated or borrowed. Builders are needed, but volunteers are also needed for child care, running errands, and getting food back and forth to the workers. All the food will be home-cooked or donated.

Many children at the event signed up to make something to remember, filling little Mason jars. They were invited to register to add to a time capsule that will be buried in the new park when it is finished.

Probably the most exciting moment came when the builders of the original park were invited to a open a time capsule that was buried when the park was built in 1991. It included handwritten letters from children saying who they were and something about themselves. A couple of T-shirts from the original park — one blue, one tan — were unrolled and revealed.

Thanking everyone for their efforts, including the highway crew, who dug up the time capsule, there were directions on how to sign up to volunteer, reminders that no one under 18 can be on the work site, and that while builders are needed, the other volunteer jobs are equally important.

Even in the rain, there were children playing on the playground, and grown-ups wandering through, all enjoying a little nostalgia. Soon it will be torn down, the rebuilding will begin, and the expected opening date is Memorial Day 2024, with a huge celebration planned for the opening of the new park.

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