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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.

J. Smith April 09, 2012 at 01:01 PM
It is refreshing to see a member of Township Commitee showing some real, positive leadership. The Field of Dreams playground is a great experience for kids, but needs work. On behalf of families with young kids, thanks to Denice and the companies for stepping up.
John Hayden April 09, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Can't have the unwashed masses running something as complicated as a pressure washer, now can we.
T.J. Patch April 09, 2012 at 02:41 PM
This is certainly good news. My kids have enjoyed this park as recently as two weeks ago. It does need to be refreshed and it's a great thing that local companies are investing not only money but manpower to help restore this park. Please post a schedule if possible. I'd like to come down and help and bring my kids with me so they can join in the restoration of the park. We're not offended by having to cart mulch or rake leaves. We'll just be happy to help out wherever we can of assistance.
Bryan Littel (Editor) April 09, 2012 at 02:42 PM
It's mostly insurance concerns.
Bryan Littel (Editor) April 09, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Definitely! We'll have an update and schedule, likely at the end of the week, once things are firmed up.
T.Smith April 09, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Please explain more Brian. Us residents build that place from the ground up and there was never insurance concerns. Now we get a company who happens to employ the husband of a committee person running for reelection this year to donate money and labor to fix what we built and there is insurance reasons us residents can't help? Sorry, but to the residents eyes this is a we don't want help so I can take all the credit in the fall type approach. I love patch and your insight but I think there is more to this that we are seeing here...dig, dig. dig......get the true scoop
Bryan Littel (Editor) April 09, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I don't know that it's accurate to say there weren't insurance concerns in 1996 - but, like I said above, we'll have more at the end of this week about the whole project.
DJFR April 09, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I think it's a great service these companies are offering to this community. Why should there even be a question of who does what? It just needs to be done. My children have only been able to play there in it's current condition, which to me seems like an insurance risk at this point with the rubber being mostly worn from the edges and the lack of mulch or something to cushion a fall. If a company schedules it's employees to give a hand in something they are funding, then they will be there to get the job done. If there is room to have volunteers as additional help then that is great too. I can't wait to see what it looks like after it's refreshed back to it's original condition.
J. Smith April 09, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Let's not dishonor the original spirit of the Field of Dreams community playground project by questioning the motives of either Ms. Dicarlo or the companies funding the refurbishment of the playground. DiCarlo is a workhorse, not a show pony. "Thanks" and support are in order, not petty jealousy.
x factor April 09, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Being part of the personel that erected field of dreams back in the day the funds came from the township,and there were no insurance restrictions whatsoever.I think maybe someone should step forward and bring a lawsuit against the twonship and the companies that are providing the service.A great hang out for the trouble makers. I'm sure if there is going to be handicap acessiblilty for children that don't fare so well like other children.Don't think that this si going to get dicarlo elected.I'm looking into about filing suit before it starts.
x factor April 09, 2012 at 08:14 PM
WHY WHY WHY WHY? is it that one of the companies happens to be denise's husband workplace.WHY not other companies in the area.JUST TWO.Political non-sense at it's best.A project that was going to be funded by the township all of a sudden it's not.The playground has been in dire need of repair for years,WHY was nothing done.So if any children get hurt parents can sue the companies that contributed to the site,because that is why the township does not want to pay for it.legal issues MORE LAWSUITS generated by the dems. denise real work horse what a laugh ask the BOE.
John Smiff April 09, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Listen to your bantering. A project funded by thebTownship? There is no money to pay for this from the township. Instead of being grateful this won't cost you a dime all you can do is condem folks for trying to do something positive. You say you were part of this great project and in the same breath call it it a hangout for troublemakers. Which is it? I can bet money you were never part of anything this positive. Change your name to the R factor and move on!
work horse April 09, 2012 at 08:41 PM
LOOK OUT GOP DEMS ARE UP TO NO GOOD I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED G WHITE IS BEHIND THIS ONE. all these years no one was concerned about the resurrection of the facility,BUT LO AND BEHOLD ELECTION TIME and the dems are at it again Now in 5 years when the facility needs repair will the same two companies donate. oh as long as denise is a committe person wake up people another ploy to raise our taxes
John Smiff April 09, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Comments like these remind us why you finished last in the BOE elections John. Only you could take a positive and try to twist it into a negative. This is a great thing for the Community. Take your negativity elsewhere.
work horse April 09, 2012 at 08:48 PM
john smurf you got to be dicarlo's husnband i don't agree with x-factor's comments but in reality I used to take my children years ago when they were small and unfortunately I stopped taking them because of needles condoms and other trash that accumalated.No one policed the area that's why it went down hill.I hope to see it brought back to life without the vanalism that occured before.I'm wondering why the other committee and our mayor isn't involved
John Smiff April 09, 2012 at 09:09 PM
The article states that the Deputy Mayor has been involved. Kudos to both him and the Committeewoman for working together along with the companies donating money and their employees. It is long overdue!
Bill Bondar April 09, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Why so much drama when any committee person tries to do some good for the township. Isn't Sean in charge of Recreation? That's his job to take care of the parks. Denice is helping out however she can. It's all for West Deptford. That being said. I would hope that this will not be used as a vehicle for campaign points.
howard johnson April 09, 2012 at 10:00 PM
it's easy to figure it out denise and sean,deja vu sean and daws. if dicarlo wasn't on the committee guarateed johnson & mathey would even bat an even to give anything. sean,deputy mayor that's like being bat boy for a major league team.this is all for political gain which she failed last year and she'll fail this year.how come only employees from the companies are working on it and not the residents getting involved
ThomasJefferson April 10, 2012 at 02:30 AM
FYI, Johnson Mathey has always been a very good community partner, stop complaining a be grateful. Everything doesn't have an ulterior motive.
ThomasJefferson April 10, 2012 at 02:32 AM
"Us residents" include many of us that are glad for the help and the fact that it won't cost us anything, I bought some of the original pickets in honor of family members and worked on it as well. If someone can get the job done, let them!! or do you want to pay the cost....
ThomasJefferson April 10, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Much of the work was done free of charge, by local union members, in case you don;t recall. We were grateful for their help.
John Hayden April 10, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Quick fact correction, I didn't finish "last". More from the Anonymous Commenting Clown brigade.
John Hayden April 10, 2012 at 03:05 AM
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
John Hayden April 10, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Actually ACC, nobody is complaining about the playground being restored. That is good. That it's being done without cost to taxpayers is even better. That it will be used for political posturing is abhorrent. Nobody can convince me that this playground fell into disrepair during the past three months. How come this wasn't a priority when the township was under the other party's control? How come it only became an issue after they lost control of the township?
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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