Barry Playground Opening Set for September 10

Mayor Thomas M. Menino will join Charlestown residents to unveil more than $860,000 in improvements to Barry Playground on Saturday, September 10, at 9 a.m.

Located at 41 Medford Street, the opening of Barry Playground highlights the Mayor’s commitment to the parks and open spaces in Charlestown.  The total design and construction cost for the project is $867,852.

Funding was provided in part by a Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Grant for $442,779 from the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the remaining funds through Mayor Menino’s Capital Improvement Program.  The celebration will include refreshments provided by H.P. Hood LLC, the official dairy sponsor for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s 2011 park openings.

Improvements include a re-graded softball field, new irrigation system, sports lighting, backstop, fencing, and players benches, as well as a walkway along the water and upgrades to the main entrance/street interface.

The opening has been scheduled to coincide with the Mark & Michelle Gorman Memorial Scholarship Fund tournament, the first permitted softball game at the refurbished park.  Michelle Gorman-McCabe, a lifelong Charlestown resident who died in 2010 at the age of 48 after a 2-year battle with brain cancer, began working for the Charlestown Community Centers in 1981.  Over the years she got to know many children and families through her work.  For her years of dedicated service, she was awarded the Public Servant award in 2008 by the Charlestown Community Appreciation Awards Committee.

In August of 1999, Michelle planned a girls-only softball tournament at Barry Playground with over 100 women signed up to play.  The day before the tournament, however, her brother Mark Gorman died from a massive heart attack at the age of 39.  The tournament was cancelled but for the next year Michelle thought about the great response she received for a woman’s tournament and decided to do it again in 2000, but this time she would raise money for scholarships in her brother’s name.

For the next ten years, Michelle held her annual women’s softball tournament at Barry Playground and raised more than $20,000 for the Mark J. Gorman Memorial Scholarship Fund.  This money was then used to provide educational scholarships to Charlestown students.

After her death, her family renamed the scholarship program the Mark & Michelle Gorman Memorial Scholarship Fund and last year held its first tournament at Barry Playground.

For more information on the reopening event, please call the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at 617-635-4505.

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