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Faded Field of Dreams Set to be Restored to Former Glory

Donations of both money and labor have come through, and the playground is just weeks away from being restored.

“If you build it, they will come.”

Sixteen years later, as families roll out to the 20,000-square-foot playground on warm spring weekends, the words still ring true—though now, from cracked, faded and peeling paint.

Once-colorful towers are weatherbeaten and worn, graffiti has been scrubbed away more than a few times, mulch has been ground down to bare dirt and concrete is covered with scabrous patches of rubberized safety crash pads.

Field of Dreams has seen better days, for sure.

“It’s just really not the same park,” committeewoman Denice DiCarlo said.

But in a few weeks, with the help of volunteers from two township businesses, it’ll be restored to its former glory.

With $60,000 or more in donations from and , and more importantly, close to 200 volunteer workers from the companies, the TLC the playground has desperately lacked for years is finally on its way.

It took close to a month’s worth of discussions—and toying with the idea of creating an entirely new playground, instead—to figure out what could be done, but DiCarlo said concerns ranging from complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act to state playground safety guidelines have been satisfied, and the playground’s restoration is right around the corner.

“We’re going to bring the playground back to its original state,” she said. “We didn’t want to knock anything down.”

Johnson Matthew and Solvay Solexis employees will handle most of the restoration work, given concerns about the township’s liability, especially when it comes to the difficulty of the work that has to be done.

“Some of the work needed at the site right now is pretty labor-specific,” DiCarlo said. While they’re not necessarily going to turn away members of the public who might want to help, DiCarlo said it’ll be limited as to what they can do—spreading mulch, for instance, rather than running power washers or clambering up 12-foot ladders.

“They really want to encourage their workers to give back,” DiCarlo said of the two companies. “It’s a good sign that they really are invested in West Deptford.”

The final details still have to be worked out, but DiCarlo and Deputy Mayor Sean Kilpatrick have a meeting this week with the two companies to hammer out a schedule.

Work could be underway by the end of April, which would mark the playground’s 16th anniversary, and could wrap up in early May, DiCarlo said.

And though the monetary donations from the two companies may just be a one-time affair, DiCarlo said there's interest in making the volunteer effort an annual event.

wd bertha April 10, 2012 at 11:15 AM
if your too blind to see there is a political motive,then your more stupid than I thought. like a comment previously submitted this playground was in dire need of repair for a long time and the democrats did absolutely nothing.What they did is pocket the money that was generated for the repair and it was left idle.People who think otherwise is still sore from the loss of power to the republicans that they have to say something even if it's stupid.
ThomasJefferson April 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM
It would seem you are very angry about this.If Mr Kilpatrick and Ms. DiCarlo worked this out as a team for the betterment of our residents , then why is it such a sore subject for you. Another town business contributed a large sum of money as well. isnt this what our committee is supposed to be doing??
Bill Bondar April 10, 2012 at 01:09 PM
They can paint the playground in solid gold for all I care. Just as long as it doesn't show up on my property tax bill as often done by the past regime.
g lynch April 10, 2012 at 09:48 PM
I have a business in the township,a very well known business I offered the township 3 years ago $50,000 toward cleaning and refurbishing field of dreams.Docimo along with her buddies turned me down,because I was friends with a republican adversary.So go figure
tellthetruthB May 04, 2012 at 10:27 AM
Post what your company is, let the news out....why hide. BTW Rian, still waiting for that updated schedule you talked about so we know when we can help....... do you now agree this is being kept secret so they can limit who helps and this becomes a nice political headline during reelection?

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