LYNN COMMUNITY GETS TO PLAY AROUND WITH IDEAS FOR PARK

Lynn City Councilor Rick Starbard is hosting a community meeting to discuss renovations for Cook Street Park. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — City Councilor Rick Starbard, the Department of Public Works (DPW), Beyond Walls and the nonprofit KABOOM! have been working together to revitalize the courts and playground equipment at Cook Street Park.

According to a newsletter sent out by Starbard, the DPW removed the majority of the cracked hot top courts before winter, and he is working with the stakeholders involved in the revitalization project to discuss what can be done next with the money allocated.

The Department of Community Development acquired $50,000 for park renovations, which Starbard said is great, but not enough.

“This is something that we’ve been talking about for years and it’s just starting to come together and we’re hoping to get more people engaged,” Starbard said.

Beyond Walls has a partnership with KABOOM!, which works with funding partners to award grants to underserved communities like Lynn to build out play areas that cities otherwise couldn’t afford to complete.

The nonprofit works with the city to analyze the park and see what play equipment is needed based on their recommendations regarding space and square footage.

Once awarded the materials, KABOOM! works with the community in designing the layout of the park and drops off the materials for the community to put together with them.

“Part of this process will involve community volunteers to help with the build when it comes to assembling and installing play structures, making it truly a community park,” Starbard said in his newsletter. “We will also be replacing the courts with hopefully, a basketball court and a larger multi-use court primarily for Futsal, which is soccer played on a small court versus a soccer field.”

To get to that point, there are a series of things that need to be done prior to KABOOM! donating the equipment, including the community getting input from the neighbors about what they want to see at the park.

To complete this step of the process, Starbard is hosting a meeting at the park on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. to meet with neighbors and interested residents to explain what the plans are for the park and to gather ideas and input from them.

“This will also be a great time to meet folks from the Cook Street Park Community Garden and see the great things that go on up there,” Starbard said.

He also scheduled a community meeting with all of the project stakeholders for Wednesday, April 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the Ford School Gymnasium.

“This project will be successful if we have the involvement of the neighborhood,” Starbard said. “If it all comes together, it will be pretty cool.”

Starbard is hoping to have the new play equipment assembled and the park renovations completed in July.

“It’s an awesome space… I don’t think there’s another park quite like it in the city and a lot of people don’t even know it exists,” Starbard said. “I’d love to have as many people, especially those who reside in that general area, come to the meeting because I don’t want to put things up there that people don’t want.”

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