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Your move! Group plans new playground with Pepperellopoly game

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PEPPERELL — The Friends of Pepperell (FOP) expect to make a big improvement to the town field with new playground equipment, planned for spring 2009.

The board game Pepperellopoly, the group’s most recent fund-raising effort, is now available.

The group wants local residents to make their move and purchase the limited-edition game for a good cause. All proceeds will be used for the playground project, as well as all money collected from the Halloween costume sale, holiday home tour and spring bike sale.

Members made a personal commitment to the project’s success by going door-to-door offering opportunities to buy “squares” and “real estate” around the game board.

“The project was so well received, we sold out about 50 spots in just two weeks,” FOP member Sue Boswell explained. Additional sponsors opted for a listing in the middle of the board.

“We are especially grateful to all the local businesses and organizations for their support,” Denene Premus added.

The cover of the game box features a vibrant fall photo of Heald Pond contributed by Pepperell photographer Ken Hartlage. FOP member Godelief Gomperts donated countless hours of her time to create the game’s graphics as well as manage the design and pre-production phases.

Of the 425 games produced, nearly 100 have been pre-sold. The Pepperellopoly game sells for $25, combined with the advertising and sponsorship revenue; Boswell says that the group hopes to raise approximately $18,000.

Boswell notes that while talks are still underway to finalize the specific playground equipment and potential structure, the selection will be accessible to as many children as possible. The FOP provided the current swing at the town field, which is designed for those with physical challenges and limitations.

Once the equipment is chosen, FOP will schedule a “community build” for the spring. Volunteers are needed to prep the site as well as actually construct the equipment. Requests also include donations of shrubs, trees and landscaping.

“We want this to be just one phase of the project,” Boswell noted. “We hope to add more equipment over time to create a truly unique playground, right here at our very own town field.” She also encourages supporters to help shape the playground by adding their favorite item, “For example, you can sponsor a slide with a donation for the purchase price.”

A few members expressed some frustration at how Pepperell parents for years carted their kids to surrounding towns to visit a playground during school hours. And, they added, more often than not the trip would include a stop to shop nearby the hardware store, to pick up a loaf of bread or get a slice of pizza.

“We want to keep people in Pepperell,” Premus said. “It would be nice to stay here and play. We have a great town, local businesses, a fabulous library we’d like to have a playground.” Although the existing swings at town field are estimated to be at least 30 years old, the group plans to keep that equipment (provided it is in good order) until something comparable can take its place.

Christine Skirkey cited the concert series at town field as another great opportunity for people to take advantage of a revitalized play area.

“We are exploring a bench-type swing for adults and seniors as well as a paved walking path as part of the town field beautification efforts,” said FOP member Barbara Stone.

FOP members have special Pepperellopoly sale days scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 at C&S Pizza; 10 a.m. on Nov. 29 at Lorden Hardware and at the Peter Fitzpatrick School’s “Breakfast with Santa” on Dec. 6 at 8 a.m.

Games are also available at the Covered Bridge Gift Shop, C&S Pizza, McNabb’s General Store, Curves in Lomar Park, Pepperell Family Pharmacy, and Scotch Pine Farm Restaurant as well as at various craft fairs throughout the holiday season. A Pepperellopoly Tournament is also under consideration.

The Friends of Pepperell formed in May 2006 and is an approved nonprofit. The group meets monthly and welcomes new members, fund-raising ideas and tax-deductible donations.

For more information call 978-835-0133.