A few weeks ago, state Sen. Bruce E. Tarr and I met on a chilly morning at the community garden at Burnham’s Field. We delighted in a tour of the garden by the community gardeners themselves, and were the happy recipients of the last of the garden’s bounty, including herbs, carrots, and a Brussells sprout or two.
Longtime Gloucester residents can recall the days when Burnham’s Field was the jewel of the city center as its largest open green space. Today it is in need of renovation. It hasn’t had a facelift since 1984 when it was the proud home of the Gloucester Fishermen baseball and softball team. Today it is the home of youth football’s Patriot team as well as heavily used by girl’s softball, youth T-ball, pick p soccer games, and many other activities befitting its amenities and location in the center of a child-friendly neighborhood.
Caring neighbors realize that if left neglected, the field can become a magnet for vandalism and trouble. Through the hard work of community-minded residents drawn to a worthy cause, the field across from St. Ann School will again become a source of civic pride.
In addition to touring the community garden, Sen. Tarr and I were there to congratulate these stewards of Burnham’s Field on the award of $340,000 in grants from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Community Development block grant program to transform Burnham’s Field. These funds will pay for new play areas, field improvements and upgraded security. These upgrades truly will make a difference for the children and families who will use the park in decades to come.
While the grants give us the necessary push the field needs, the real story here is the “village” that came together to restore Burnham’s Field. In today’s era, communities must rely more and more on committed folks who are willing to step up and make a difference. Luckily, our residents are up to the challenge as shown by the outpouring of enthusiastic support over the past four years.