Cluett Schantz Memorial Park in Milton received a makeover this weekend with the construction of their new playground.
Leira Patasso is the reason the new playground has finally come to fruition. Patasso is a special needs mom, and in 2016 noticed the former playground was in need of repairs, which could not be done because the parts were discontinued. Because of this, her children weren’t able to play on the playground
“Working in law for 20 something years, I remember telling the town ‘here’s actual constructive notice of an effective condition’,” Patasso said.
After giving notice to the town, Al Lanzetta, the town supervisor, worked with Patasso to create a new playground. Patasso created a playground committee and started meeting with playground designers to find what would best fit the towns needs. The playground chosen was designed by John Posanti of Park and Play structures.
“While the playground is not 100% special needs or ADA compliant, there are more options for the children of our community of various disabilities to play with their peers,” Patasso said. “That’s what you want. You don’t want children being sequestered and having to watch everything from the sidelines.”
Patasso wanted to make sure the kids had a say in what the playground included, and set up a table on open school night and Marlboro Fit Day to get input from the children. All of their input was taken into account when choosing a design.
“I wanted a playground for the children by the children,” Patasso said. “The kids in Marlboro have a lot of opinions and really well thought out opinions. They wanted to make sure there was something for everybody.”
The playground is going to include slides, a seesaw, and swings among other playground favorites. One of the key components to the design of the playground are multiple ramps, “not necessarily for the child in the wheelchair, but for the child that maybe struggles with walking,” Patasso said.
Lanzetta applied for and received a $150,000 grant from State Senator Bill Larkin.
When it comes to the physical building of the playground, the community was involved once again. Celeste Ricciardone was head of coordinating the build and finding the volunteers. Ricciardone put the word out through UNICO, the Lions Club, the Marlboro school district, and some social media. The build took place from Friday-Sunday with some finishing touches being done throughout the week.
“I’ve been doing this for many years and have never been disappointed,” Ricciardone said. “People always show up and everyone contributes.”
Snacks were also provided by the volunteers. The weekend weather high was in the 40’s, but volunteers still showed up.
“We’re alive but very cold,” Joe Patasso, Leira’s husband, said.
The playground will be having a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening sometime in the next few weeks.
“It’s going to be around for a long time, I’m really excited about the project,” Patasso said. “Making Cluett Schantz Memorial Park a destination for families in Marlboro now, not just something you drive by, would be fantastic.”