Wareham CORE exploring new options for Lopes Playground rebuild
Plans to rebuild the Lopes Playground in Onset this May have been put on hold after volunteers received a memo from the town that said Wareham would no longer support the installation of a rubberized surface at structure due to flooding hazards.
The nonprofit spearheading the project, however, said its “determined that this decision will not be the end of our project.”
In a press release, Officials from Wareham Community Outdoor Recreation (CORE) said they were exploring alternatives to the project that will still “serve the greatest number of children within the Wareham community.”
“We want to do right by the community,” said Wareham CORE President DaLiza Fernandes. “And for us, that means finding a way to fulfill our original obligations as best we can.”
The nonprofit, made up of local residents, began fundraising for the playground rebuild two years ago. According to Fernandes, CORE has already raised over $100,000 for the project.
This money reflects multiple grants and private donations received by CORE.
“Understandably, we’ve had a lot of people contacting us to see what’s going on,” she said.
According to Fernandes, the nonprofit received a memo regarding the playground rebuild back in June of 2018 from Town Administrator Derek Sullivan.
The memo clarified the town’s position on the Lopes Playground rebuild to volunteers, stating that Wareham would not support the rebuild efforts at Lopes Field, which included the installation of a rubberized surface, due to flooding hazards.
“The Town needs to control investment in municipal structures within the flood hazard areas, especially where reasonable alternatives exist,” the memo reads.
Sullivan expanded on this statement, saying that when a poured in place surface is submerged in a flood, debris can cause rips in the surface, which results in a ballooning effect and large swaths of the surface rip away.
“It doesn't need to be a major flood to cause catastrophic damage to such a surface,” Sullivan said.
Fernandes said the town presented CORE several alternatives that board members have since mulled over.
While Fernandes said solutions had been found, she declined to say what exactly would take place at Lopes Field in the coming months.
CORE’s press release said volunteers were “currently going through the due diligence process to ensure a smooth transition” with the project.
“We look forward to providing an update on this exciting development at the earliest possible time,” the press release said.
“We are happy to meet with CORE to move the Onset project forward,” Sullivan added.