Building community

On its face, it seemed like a simple goal – raise money to fix up a neglected and unappealing playground in downtown Bar Harbor so local children have a safe, comfortable place to get outdoors. How hard could it be?

The process, however, turned out to be anything but easy.

With so many infrastructure projects in line for town funding, finding tax money to fully underwrite the effort was never in the cards. The town had allocated $23,000, but the total needed was $180,000.

Fortunately, a group of motivated parents took it upon themselves to round up the funds, starting simply with donation cans and events such as Bar Harbor Comic Con, and eventually enlisting the assistance of the Bar Harbor (MDI) Rotary Club. Leading area businesses made major contributions as well. In all, the process took six years.

Impressed that this citizens’ effort had managed to cobble together nearly $120,000, voters at Bar Harbor’s annual town meeting in June agreed to chip in another $40,000.

Now, a final citizen volunteer push is planned to commence the actual construction of the playground on Saturday, Sept. 9, with the grand opening one week later.

And what a celebration it will be. Dedicated volunteers have made it happen. People from all walks of life have come together to achieve a common goal. Bravo!

The organizers behind the push to complete the Park Street Playground haven’t just managed to construct a new place for kids to play. They also have built a stronger community.

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