Posted by Rosie Segil on May 03, 2022
Hobbs Playground will soon undergo a makeover.  The new layout and updated equipment will guarantee access to children of all abilities.  Leading the way to these improvements is Laney Dowling (center), Marblehead Family Fund's (MFF) Chair, who presented the playground’s final plans to Marblehead Rotary members.  The MFF’s mission, since it started as a grassroots organization in 1988, has been to improve Marblehead's playgrounds, parks, and open spaces.
Marblehead Family Fund’s efforts were strengthened by individuals, families, businesses and civic organizations who managed to collectively raise $300,000, in the midst of lockdowns, to make this new playground a reality.  The Municipal Americans with Disabilities Act Improvement Project Grant contributed $62,000.  Marblehead Rotary capped the goal with a $25,000 sponsorship and also gave contributors an opportunity to benefit from the organization's charitable foundation status, encouraging more generous giving with tax exemption.

Marblehead Recreation & Parks Department and the MFF will work together to maintain the playground after the enhancements take place.
Children can anticipate the installment of several new structures.  A glimpse at what is to come: The Cozy Dome, a unique climbing structure that will allow children to escape and just observe; the Giggle Jiggler, a moving platform where children will be able to sit or stand to challenge their muscles and strengthen their core; the Pod Steppers, which will encourage planning, balance and motor skills as children hop from one pod to the next; and a Boppity Bridge, which will give children a chance to work on their climbing skills.
Laney Dowling received the Paul Harris Fellow recognition for her contribution in this endeavor.  Marblehead Rotary president, Blair Lord, is standing next to her and her husband Don, a longtime Rotarian, on the right side of the picture.  Their daughter, Elle, is in front of them.  Julie Sweeney-Seaver, MFF’s treasurer, is to the left of the photo.
Marblehead Rotary will continue to support community-wide projects, such as this and the recent fundraising for the Marblehead Police Department's wellness/gym, to better address community concerns and strengthen our community engagement.