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Franklin School's New Study Park a Community Effort

Reconstructed outside area at Bloomfield School funded entirely by community donations

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.

Hedi Kovacs October 15, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Great sense of community, Mr. Chalet!! Many thanks to you, Sir, for humbly undertaking the coordination of this huge project, and many thanks to all who donated.
Lisa Raimondi Christiano October 15, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I am so happy to see that they kept the bushes that line the front of the building. Most or all of those bushes were put there by the 4th graders for Arbor Day each year. As a child I attended Franklin School and being a 4th grader we looked forward to donating our bush! Mr. Chalet, you did a wonderful thing for the children of Franklin School!!!!
Pete Mock October 16, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Thank you Mr Chalet, and thanks to all the donors who gave so generously. And thanks to Principal Abbasso for continuing to push this idea until it happened!
Pete Mock October 16, 2012 at 09:01 PM
The Franklin School Home & School Beautification Committiee will be holding our annual Fall Clean up and Planting Day this Saturday, October 20th, 10am - 3pm. Parents, kids, teachers, neighbors, and members of the community are encouraged to come out and see the newly transformed Study Garden and help us make the rest of Franklin School a cleaner and more beautiful place to learn. Please bring work gloves, gardening tools, leaf bags, brooms, rakes, etc. We’ll have coffee, water and snacks for all. We hope top see you there!
Pete Mock September 24, 2013 at 02:21 PM
The folks at Home Depot in Bloomfield need to be creditied for not only providing the materials for all ten of the benches, but the Home Depot employees actually built them on their own time.

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