Students can now get ahead on their reading – or just enjoy the great outdoors – at Franklin Elementary School's new Study Park, which underwent a $32,000 facelift funded entirely by community donations.
Unveiled Friday at the Curtis Street school, the fenced-in outdoor area now boasts brick pavers, seasonal mums and bright red and green benches constructed by Bloomfield Home Depot.
"When the Study Park is done, I am going to read my favorite book there," read fourth grader Megan Guerra from an essay she wrote. "I am loving the new Study Park and I hope you do, too."
Leading the two-month-long fundraiser for the park was Bloomfield Councilman Elias Chalet, whose son, Justin, attended the Curtis Street school. Donations from local organizations, like Brookdale ShopRite, Metropolitan Real Estate Development Corporation and North American Eagle Construction and others, poured in, Chalet said, facilitating construction of the area.
"This project was an important initiative geared specifically to foster a healthy educational and recreational environment for our students," said Chalet, thanking donors for their generous contributions.
The new park is a vast improvement from what it once was: A muddy mess overrun with weeds.
"If it rained, you couldn't come out here," said Franklin Elementary School Principal Marianne Abbasso. "Nothing really grew, it was really just dirt."
Chalet said he hopes to replicate similiar donation-funded construction projects at other Bloomfield schools in need. He suggested next time allowing parents to purchase and dedicate a brick paver to get them involved in the fundraising process.
"This is only the beginning," Chalet promised.