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 May 2022
Page 9
how they would enjoy being able to sit down for lunch and perhaps a game of cards or dominos at an inviting concession stand and pa- vilion. Two youngsters were par- ticularly insightful as they shared their experiences and hopes for a renovated concession stand and the importance of a “real gath- ering place.”
While acknowledging the fun of using the Park’s sports fields, one youngster, a boy named Jack, spoke with disdain of the current concession’s bathroom and food preparation facilities. He charac- terized those facilities as “a hor- ror show .”It is well at this point to keep in mind that every child’s self-image is influenced by the physical environment provided to them. Young Jack expressed thoughtful insights about the need to improve the concession stand for the future. He thought “homemade foods,” and various beverages would make the Park’s concession stand more appealing. He spoke with animation about
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sion. It has evolved into a utility building used mostly for storage. The building shows its age. The green painted concrete exterior is marred with scars of exposed concrete below the peeling paint and chips in the concrete itself. This writer is intimately familiar with its use and contents, having retrieved and returned the town’s Kubota once a week for the past several years while utilizing that vehicle to water downtown Bris- tol’s beautiful array of plants and flowers. (See accompanying picture of the weekly “squeeze.”) This year the town is alleviating some of the overcrowding in the building by moving the Kubota to another facility. However, this short-term fix still leaves the building with a plethora of field equipment, construction mate- rials, outdoor grills, kitchen ap- pliances, water containers, etc. There is a need for a long-term renovation of this building to realize its original designation as Kelley Park’s “concession .”This,
of course, will require raising money.
Bristol, the Town, and its volunteers can be proud of the many efforts made to enhance access to community services, the beauty of the Central Square, the provision of public safety, and the expansion of its park system. All of this, and more, are hap- pening quite recently while fac- ing the burden of coping with a persistent debilitating pandemic. One should take special note that the Kelley Park Committee has worked hard with limited resources to improve the park, especially its sports fields, and to promote community “gatherings .”Importantly, Kelley Park served as an outdoor refuge for activities during the pandemic. The Kel- ley Park Committee reminded the Town, in its Annual Report, that it continues to pursue the hope that the current “conces- sion” building will be renovated. In that regard, it shares with the Town an architect’s drawing crafted by Eagle Pond and studio of the proposed renovation of the concession and pavilion. (See
picture attached). The impor- tance of the renovation was un- derscored during a two-day study and planning session (charette) with community leaders directed by PLAN NH in May of 2018. The PLAN team emphasized that a true concession building and renovated pavilion would help transform Kelley Park from a venue now used primarily for sports and children’s activities to a true community gathering place.
3. A concession is something given in return for something; it intends to facilitate a benefit or agreement.
When starting my research on this article, I was unsure whether renovating a concession stand qualified as a top priority for a community undertaking many other important projects. How- ever, listening to the insights and concerns of two distinctly dif- ferent community populations convinced me otherwise. It is important to note that although both groups had concerns about the concession stand’s inade- quacy, they were quick to ac-
Bill shown in the Town's Kubota parked in the existing structure showing how tight the area is.
knowledge the hard work and creativity of the Park Committee and many volunteers who have endeavored every year to bring entertaining events to the Park.
One group I interviewed was young children who use Kelley Park more frequently than any other group. I spoke with the elderly as well. Our oldest res- idents use the park sparingly. It provides little recreational bene- fit for them. Both populations felt an upgraded concession stand would help transform the park into a true gathering place for all ages. The older folks spoke of
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