Some five years of dreaming, hard work and planning will soon result in a $450,000 refurbishing of Lozada Park, a square block of spare open space in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Hartford's North End.
By next spring, if all goes well, the park will welcome families with new landscaping, a brick entrance, a playground for children of all levels of ability and a new spray pool for kids to run through. A basketball court and a baseball diamond will also be part of the scene.
These improvements wouldn't have come about without the dedicated efforts of the Society of Latin American Firefighters in Hartford and senior volunteers from Leadership Greater Hartford's Third Age Initiative, plus help from city and state officials.
Lozada Park becomes the sixth site in the Greater Hartford area for an inclusive playground developed by Bloomfield-based Boundless Playgrounds. These playgrounds provide ramps that take children with disabilities up to the highest play deck; they have swings and bouncers with back supports and elevated sand tables; and their structures are configured so that all children can play at their highest level of ability.
What a boon to the neighborhood that Lozada Park, with these improvements, can be. The park, between Mather and Seyms streets a few blocks west of Main, has known bad times. There was a fatal shooting at a picnic bench there three years ago.
Neighborhood residents have a stake in helping to keep the new playground safe. They must step up to the plate by obeying the rules and reporting vandalism, drug activity and other suspicious behavior in the park. If the people who live in the vicinity take ownership, Lozada Park can be one of Hartford's shining gems.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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