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March 21, 2014

New strides at Burnham's

Those living around Burnham’s Field no longer have to adhere to the old adage: “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

The launch and organization of the Friends of Burnham’s Field, a grass-roots community group, has already led to an effort to revitalize and rejuvenate central Gloucester’s emerald in the rough, and they are poised to move on to the next phase of the project.

The founder, John McElhenny, said the Friends have their website up and running, and the gears are turning to rehabilitate the park.

“More people are joining — we have a couple of dozen people: it’s pretty exciting,” he said. “This is the first big renovation in 30 years.”

The field is now in line for new swings and playground equipment, a lighted walkway, a fence, bathroom and new trees.

The project was funded through more than $345,000 in community development block grants, state Department of Environmental Protection funds and money from the Community Preservation Committee.

“This spring it will start becoming a reality,” McElhenny added, speaking as the calendar turned to spring.

More important, he said, is to keep the momentum going after phase one of the project is complete. The Friends of Burnham’s Field want to bring more families, neighbors and more attention to the field.

McElhenny said it is the families and neighbors in the area who have been behind the project. They are the ones who will continue to work to keep the field clean and the community garden ripe for the picking.

The Gloucester Police and Fire departments have also played an integral part in the process by making sure the field will be properly lit and accessible.

“Gloucester police have already been more active at Burnham’s Field. They have made it a safer place with their increased presence” he said. “It’s not perfect, but it has made leaps and bounds.”

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