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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

Renewal efforts benefit 11th St. fields, hockey rink

Work has begun on revitalizing the street hockey rink at the 11th Street Fields. (THG/Gabe Donio. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

Out on 11th Street, work is being done.

It is good work.

The recreation area known as 11th Street Fields (once known as “Thousand Points of Light Park”) is the latest beneficiary of what I call the “Pride in our Parks Program.”

Various parks throughout the town are being burnished, including Hammonton Lake Park, Boyer Avenue Recreational Area and the smaller pocket parks.

Not everything is perfect. No one can convince me the new Christopher Columbus Plaza is going to look better than the old Christopher Columbus Plaza. Also, it would be nice if someone eliminated the grass and weeds growing out of the curb along Leo Club Park at Veterans Park as well as Veterans Park.

My favorite development is 11th Street Park—especially the work that has begun to restore the street hockey (or roller hockey) rink. The rotted wooden boards have been eliminated (see picture with this column) and the town is moving forward on several steps that will create a fine new recreational opportunity for children and adults from Hammonton.

This rink was originally built between Vine Street (School House Lane) and Peach Street next to the “red” building on what was then the Hammonton Middle School property and what is now Hammonton School District land leased by St. Joseph Academy.

Many people who were children in the 1980s remember playing in the street hockey league at that site.

In the late 1980s, a decision was made to move the rink to a new recreation area on 11th Street that also had basketball courts and softball fields. Unfortunately, the area was never truly embraced by Hammontonians. It has languished until the present day.

Thanks to the “Pride in our Parks Program,” recreation areas like the 11th Street Fields, its hockey rink and its basketball courts are being renewed. With the proper funding and marketing by the town, and placement in a bustling business park rather than in the middle of acres of empty farmland, the area may become a gathering place for all ages of Hammontonians—as well as employees of the Hammonton Business Park and throughout town.

I’d love to see the hockey league return. It’d be great to see people using the courts and fields again as well. With proper signage, maintenance and other improvements, the 11th Street Fields could finally become a major part of the town’s parks system.

If the town continues to extend its efforts to revitalize the parks by erecting new fencing, painting buildings, putting up uniform signage at all parks, funding recreation at the highest level possible in the municipal budget and encouraging Hammontonians of all ages to use the parks, from active recreation fields to the dog park to areas for the arts, we will see a renaissance at all our local recreation areas.

That’s when the “Pride in our Parks Program” would really take root, making a better town for all residents, as well as people who visit our community. Our local parks are a large part of Hammonton’s natural beauty.

Our parks are the pride of Hammonton.

They deserve to be preserved and promoted.

Gabe Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.


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