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'Tot Lot' Rising for Watchemoket Kids

East Providence parks and recreation staff are doing the final construction of the 'tot lot' on the corner of Mauran Avenue and Sixth Street.

Tots in the neighborhood centered around Mauran Avenue and Sixth Street in East Providence soon will have a new revitalized lot to play in.

“We’ll be done in another week or so,” said Michael Bartlett, assistant superintendent for parks in East Providence, referring to the final construction being done by the parks division staff. “We’re taking a break (from routine maintenance) to get it done before the snow flies.”

Pre-construction of the tot lot was done at the end of the summer, he said.

Brand new playground equipment for children ages 2-5 is being installed along with two new swing bays and other amenities, said Bartlett, including a surface made of engineered wood fiber -- similar to mulch.

“Most parks in the city still have sand,” he said.

To keep costs low, construction is being handled by parks staff.

A $25,000 Community Development Block Grant is paying for the revitalization, which started about two years ago with a meeting with the neighbors.

“We got a buy-in from the neighbors, who keep a close eye on the playground,” he said. “We knew there was a strong tie.”

The tot lot previously had a half-size basketball court and a play set "tucked way in the back corner," said Bartlett, where it was not uncommon to find drug syringes and other drug paraphernalia.

“We definiely wanted to redesign it,” he said.

The tot lot will now be the second one in the city. The other playground for that age group of kids is at Hull Street, Bartlett said.

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