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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    A place for kids to play in New London

    There were plenty of happy children on hand when New London officially reopened the newly refurbished Toby May Park playground late last month.

    That was no opening day-staged occurrence. The playground and basketball courts at the Ocean Avenue park get plenty of use year-round by children of all ages, along with teens and adults. So, when the construction fences that kept the playground off-limits for months while it was being rebuilt and upgraded were finally removed, local families wasted no time returning to the park.

    We share New London city officials’ delight in this new facility that provides more activities for everyone from tots to adults and is easily accessible to all, regardless of physical limitations. We also offer thanks to the New London Rotary Club that paid for and has been a loyal steward of the New London Rotary Centennial Playground developed at Toby May about two decades ago. Club members also were on hand to celebrate the playground’s official reopening.

    New London Public Works Director Brian Sear told a reporter for The Day last month that he began considering a way to upgrade the park after his department was receiving frequent reports about broken swings or sharp edges on slides at the playground. City officials decided to completely rebuild the playground rather than make piecemeal repairs on it and applied for a $583,000 Urban Development grant to fund the project. The grant was awarded in August 2022 and work on the new playground began in July 2023.

    In the spirit of service and giving demonstrated by the Rotary Club that provided the earlier playground, the older equipment was donated and shipped to Central America, where it will be installed in communities that currently have no playground equipment for local children.

    At Toby May, new offerings now include interactive equipment with playable chimes, climbing domes and ladders, plenty of swings and an adult fitness area. To help protect little knees and elbows, the ground under equipment is covered with spongy, heavy duty matting. Restrooms at the park are also slated to be replaced.

    While we congratulate New London officials for their work on ensuring Toby May remains a well-loved, well-used recreational spot for many years to come, we also urge them to provide appropriate and regular maintenance there.

    It’s not uncommon to see overgrown grass, unmanicured shrubbery and litter in the city’s public parks. Toby May is not an exception. Before the new equipment was installed, a planted area edged by wooden planks and located front and center near the parking lot, was a tangled mass of weeds and unkempt shrubs. The wooden border sported flaking paint and rot spots.

    We acknowledge that keeping heavily used urban parks looking crisp and manicured is no easy task. New London has made a worthy investment in Toby May, however, and city officials must now ensure local families that the park will be maintained with fidelity.

    The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. The board operates independently from The Day newsroom.

    The Day editorial board meets with political, business and community leaders to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Timothy Dwyer, Executive Editor Izaskun E. Larraneta, Owen Poole, copy editor, and Lisa McGinley, retired deputy managing editor. The board operates independently from The Day newsroom.

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