October 27, 2016
Volunteers spent last week installing new playground equipment at Oak Island Park.
By THOMAS GRILLO
REVERE — The city has a sparkle thanks to a volunteer effort to spruce up neighborhood parks, the business district and even a cemetery.
The projects, “Beautify Revere” and “Community Build,” brought more than 300 residents together for a single purpose: making the city a better place for everyone.
Last weekend, this year’s final clean-up was completed at the Rumney Marsh Burial Ground, the National Register of Historic Places resting place of 545 of Revere’s earliest settlers on Butler Street.
Two miles away, Kerri Courtois and her team installed a new playground set at Oak Island Park, one block from Revere Beach. She helped replace the swing set and jungle gym whose useful life had passed.
“I don’t want to say the equipment we replaced was dilapidated, but it was certainly neglected and not very colorful,” she said. “The new one has all the bells and whistles that kids will love.”
The weekend project turned homeowners and tenants into do-it-yourselfers. Volunteers poured concrete, followed complicated directions and used power tools to get the job done, all this in last weekend’s rain.
“It was great to see so many get involved,” Courtois said. “They came out in a heavy rain and got down and dirty. It’s my playground in the place where I lived all my life and now it’s for my grandchildren.”
Mary Ahearn, who lives across the street from the park, also volunteered. The lifelong Revere resident said she became involved because the neighborhood had not had a new park in more than two decades.
“The job was supposed to take up to four days, but 30 volunteers finished it in two,” she said. “This phenomenal new park will attract some of the younger families that have moved to Revere, but are not yet part of the neighborhood.”
In addition to Rumney Marsh Burial Ground and Oak Island Park, the other parks that were scrubbed since spring included: Gibson Park at Point of Pines, as well as West Revere, North Revere and business districts at Broadway, Beachmont Square and Revere Street.
Joseph Gravellese, spokesman for Mayor Brian Arrigo, said traditionally the city held cleanups only once a year. But it was determined that keeping the city clean is a year-round effort.
“The annual project was an acknowledged success and we built off that to make beautification a year-round effort,” he said.
The mayor said Revere residents have shown a willingness to pitch in and help keep the city clean.
“Hopefully these events can serve as a year-long reminder of the importance of keeping the city clean and treating our public spaces with respect,” he said.
For Ahearn the project was personal.
“I have an 11-year-old son and a 4-year-old grandson and now they have a great place to play,” she said.
Thomas Grillo can be reached at email@example.com.