Hopewell Borough Playground to Celebrate 10th Anniversary

Hopewell Borough Playground to Celebrate 10th Anniversary

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The first time children used the playground at Hopewell Park in 2009. (photo credit: Rachel Webster)

Whether it’s “Gazebo” or “Castle” Park to you, the green space at the intersection of Greenwood and Columbia Avenues in Hopewell Borough is a favorite destination for local kids, thanks to the Hopewell Borough Playground Project (HBPP) efforts ten years ago.

Whether it’s “Gazebo” or “Castle” Park to you, the green space at the intersection of Greenwood and Columbia Avenues in Hopewell Borough is a favorite destination for local kids for ten years, thanks to an amazing playground and determined volunteers. This Saturday, June 22, join the community to celebrate the playground’s 10th Anniversary from 12pm to 2pm at Hopewell Park. 

Beginning in 2008, the Hopewell Borough Playground Project (HBPP) was the inspiration and organization behind two new playgrounds in Hopewell Borough: one near the gazebo in Hopewell Park for 5-12 year olds and one at the historic train station for 2-5 year olds.

Hundreds of community volunteers were instrumental in the final product. Even the logo was a community-effort. Featured on the flyer below, the artwork by Natalie Brodine, then a 10-year old student at Bear Tavern Elementary School, was the winner of an area-wide elementary school design contest held by the Hopewell Borough Playground Project (HBPP).

Children were also involved the playground design-phase. This photo is students at Hopewell Elementary School, in 2009, surrounding the architect from Leathers and Associates. The students contributed their design ideas and he created plans based on their ideas including a pirate ship, tree house, rock walk, train.

“So many people came together from all over. We had teams of volunteers from big corporations and skilled labor from most of the local builders working alongside friends and neighbors. Some folks gave muscle, some gave money. Every bit made a difference,” said co-founder of HBPP, Rachel Webster. “The children created tiles, designed the t-shirts, and worked along-side their mothers and fathers to make the playgrounds a reality.”

On Saturday, June 22, the community will gather to celebrate the achievement and plan for the two playgrounds’ future upkeep.

“The playgrounds, like most 10 year olds, are semi-independent at this point, but still need a helping hand from time to time,” Webster said. “They have held up well, but there is a need for some re-staining, painting, and other maintenance work. On Saturday, there will be opportunities to sign-up for park maintenance (to be performed on a later date) and donations to the Park Trust will be accepted as well.”

 “Ten years later, I am still in awe of what was accomplished,” Webster shared. “It feels very much like watching the baby you gave birth to turn ten. I am incredibly proud — of the playgrounds themselves, but also of the many people who played a part. The inscription on the donor plaque still holds true for me today:

Many heartfelt thanks to the hundreds and hundreds of dedicated volunteers and generous donors who worked tirelessly to make these playgrounds a reality. The completion of these one-of-a-kind playgrounds epitomizes the strong community spirit that is special to Hopewell.”

Bring your own seating, blankets, and/or chairs, and enjoy music, slideshow, and some birthday-fare on Saturday, June 22, at the 10th Anniversary Party from 12pm to 2pm at Hopewell Park. (Rain date: June 23)

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

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