The innovative plan to use Manning Community Park, which sits atop land over the Southeast Expressway in East Milton, for a youth-gathering site gained official support from the Select Board on Sept. 4.
Voting with ping pong paddles supplied by applicant and local parent Sean Roche, all five members of the Select Board flipped the side with “yes” written on it forward as they agreed to support a three-month trial of the plan that was put forward by Roche.
Roche first presented the plan to the town in August, saying this would be perfect to combine youths who needed a place to go, and the deck, which was almost completely unused.
Town officials, who said they have received a lot of positive feedback and some that was negative on the outdoor teen area, wanted a trial period to work out any remaining safety and liability concerns.
They set several conditions, including one that calls for a public hearing on the trial period to be held in October.
The assorted chairs, ping pong tables, and games that Roche has donated and placed on the area will need to be removed by the end of November.
A $4 million redesign of the park and the streets surrounding it is expected to begin in April and construction will last about a year. During that time, the plans would be placed on hold.
As part of the conditions for approval, Roche was instructed to get clearance from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) that owns the park, and sign an agreement indemnifying the town of any responsibility for injuries to anyone using the assortment of games and recreational equipment Roche has placed on the property.
Town Administrator Mike Dennehy said on Sept. 6 that vehicles, including a military-style truck, were removed at the advice of town counsel until Roche is able to get insurance. Dennehy will work hand-in-hand with Roche on some aspects of the plan.
(More on this story can be found in the Sept. 12 issue of the Milton Times in print and in the e-edition.)