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Construction progresses, Buy-A-Brick program launched
Beverly Citizen - 7/5/2018
The ultimate goal, to create an inclusive, family-friendly and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant park for the neighborhood, is slowly becoming a reality.
Courtney Melei, a neighbor of the park's namesake, Pete Frates, and his family, helped spearhead the project nearly three years ago.
"I don't think any of us had any idea how much support we would receive for this project," she said, walking across the dug up ground that used to be a full-size basketball court.
Everyone, from community members and organizations to the mayor's office and city departments, has been chipping in and helping out however they can.
"I come down here every day and they're working so hard," Melei said. "So many people care about this park and care about Pete. There are people coming out of the woodwork to lend a hand."
Benevento Concrete has donated all concrete and asphalt that will be used in the park.
Shaughnessy Sports Construction out of New Jersey, run by Boston College graduate Bill Shaughnessy, is overseeing resurfacing for both the tennis and basketball courts, with Roger Bouchard of Sports Tek Inc. handling the execution of the plans. Both are donating their services and expertise.
Landscape architect Dennis Dale and site manager Jim Turcotte have also been instrumental in making sure the project progresses.
"Beverly Public Works have been amazing to work with and care so much about this project and you can see this every day they are at the site," Melei said.
Concrete has been poured, play structures have been ordered and things are slowly starting to take shape.
Nancy Frates, Pete's mother, said she is in awe of all the work that has gone into the project, and the fact that the entire neighborhood has been so supportive.
"Sometimes, standing here, looking at this, it's hard to believe it's happening," she said, explaining that, of all the awards and accolades Pete has received, the park is an extremely special one. "I think having this park in his hometown, in the neighborhood where he grew up and in the same neighborhood he's now raising his daughter is not only a gift, but it's his legacy to the community."
And her son has already made a couple of trips to the park to check on the progress.
"Pete gets very emotional when he comes down to see it," Nancy Frates said. "The support of the neighborhood has been overwhelming [That love] is the fuel that keeps us going."
But the project is still far from completion, as a couple of major sections of the park will require some extra help from the community. Those sections are to be filled with inscribed pavers, and Melei said anyone in the community may purchase one.
"We want to see it filled with the names of neighbors who love Pete," she said.
Those interested in buying a brick to be displayed in the park should follow the link provided at www.petespark.org; the deadline for brick orders is July 11.
Melei said there is also a need for a skilled carpenter to build the boat play structure, which will be called the "Lucy Fitz" in honor of Pete Frates' daughter.
"Every component of this park has been so well thought out," Nancy Frates said, adding she's excited for all the smiles and joy the park will bring to so many families, her own included.