An effort to provide Roosevelt Avenue students with a new playground is back underway after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a pause.
According to Roosevelt Principal Jeannine Magliocco, a committee was formed in 2019 to explore the possibility of constructing a new playground. The committee worked with a vendor to get a cost estimate and design drawn up, and a 5K fundraiser was held. Magliocco worked with then-Superintendent Scott Holcomb to get more information on the process and began to plan potential events for the playground.
Then, March 2020 happened.
The committee, like many other organizations, had to cease meeting in the face of the pandemic. Even when schools reopened, the focus was on adapting to the many changes in the classroom.
“When we returned to school, nothing was happening,” Magliocco. “That entire year was a year we did not re-engage.”
Stacy Blaisdell moved to North Attleborough two years ago and enrolled her son at Roosevelt Avenue. To her son’s great disappointment, there was no playground, prompting her to join the school’s parent teacher group, of which she is now the co-chair. After joining, she learned of the committee formed for the playground and reached out to the vendor to get an updated estimate. This helped to jumpstart the effort and things are moving forward.
“This year we revived the project,” said Magliocco.
The original estimate was for approximately $200,000, but between inflation and normal cost increases, this is expected to be higher. A new round of fundraising is underway, with the first held at Angle Tree Brewing on March 11. Between donations—both in-person and through the group’s Venmo account—as well as Angle Tree giving $1 per pint sold that night, more than $2,000 was raised, exceeding their goal.
Other fundraising discussed includes a 5K, color run, and an event themed for the fall. Blaisdell has met with Town Manager Michael Borg, and Magliocco spoke with State Rep. Adam Scanlon to see if state funding can be arranged. She said that Scanlon—who went to Roosevelt School—agreed to support the project.
“Adam Scanlon is a partner of the schools,” Magliocco said. “We could not ask for someone more supportive.”
According to Magliocco, Roosevelt has never had a playground, and kids often play outside on a blacktop area behind the school. Toys and balls are provided, but all agree that a proper playground would be of benefit.
“The amount of scrapes my son has come home with alone, they would would benefit from playing on a padded area,” Blaisdell said.
Falls School has a playground, and the Community School uses one located behind Town Hall. Martin School also has a small play area for students. Amvet Boulevard recently completed its fundraising efforts for a new playground, with assistance from the town in the form of a $450,000 allocation from Free Cash. Cari Orsi, who chaired the committee for the Amvet Playground, used to have a child in Roosevelt, and has helped the school’s efforts.
“She continues to support us with procedures and processes she went through,” said Magliocco.
Looking ahead, the fundraising will soon begin, and no deadline has been set. Preliminary designs for the playground show a climbing structure, slides, rope climbing, saucer walks, bridges and a rock wall. The entire structure would be red and atop a padded area. According to Magliocco, the goal was to offer several play options and physical activities. Once completed, the playground would be open to the public.
“We wanted to bring some social education and benefits that promote inclusive play,” she said. “We want children years on to benefit from this. In my opinion, it’s a long time coming. This is something we want to realize for years to come for our students.”
Donations to the new playground can be made via Venmo @RAPTG. Checks can be made out to RAPTG and sent to Roosevelt Avenue School, 108 Roosevelt Ave., North Attleborough MA, 02760.