State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) has successfully passed a $100,000 amendment for Littleton’s Castle in the Trees playground in the Senate Budget to help defray the costs of renovations to this important Littleton recreational facility. This follows the initiation of a budget amendment by State Representative James Arciero (D-Westford) which was included in the House version of the state’s fiscal year budget. As both versions of the spending bill contain the language, the funding will be secured if and when Governor Baker signs the final appropriation measure.
“I am pleased that the Senate voted in support of funding that would go towards renovating the Castle in the Trees playground in Littleton,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge. “Physical activity is so essential to the growth and success of children and it is vital that they can access safe and upgraded playgrounds in their neighborhoods.”
“Given the tough budgetary decisions to be made with unpredictable revenues, I am glad that we could secure state funding for this important community project. I know it will be money well spent that will provide years of recreation and a vibrant community center for Littleton families,” said Representative Arciero, who filed the amendment to earmark the funds after working closely with the Castle in the Trees organization.
Littleton’s Castle in the Trees playground was built in 1991 and has long outlived its projected lifespan. It is nearing a point where maintenance and repair cost, as well as safety concerns, will outweigh its continued use in the future. The playground is currently closed for repairs. In October 2014, a Rebuild Castle Committee was formed to raise funds to rebuild Castle in the Trees, and prevent permanent closure and loss of future use by Littleton residents and children. The new Castle playground has a projected build date of late summer 2016 if the necessary funding is secured. A number of local fundraisers are in the works for the next several months. Major renovations will include a new parking lot and basketball courts at the playground.
A special part of Castle in the Trees is Aidan’s Playground. It was built in November, 2013 in memory of 10 month old Littleton resident Aidan Mallio who died in a drowning accident in July 2012. This playground is dedicated for children from the ages of 2-5.
Following completion of the Senate Budget, the House and Senate will each appoint 3 members of their chamber to form a conference committee to determine the final language of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget before sending it to Governor Baker for his review and approval.