Posted on May 16, 2024
On April 25, the Ipswich Housing Authority (IHA) held a groundbreaking ceremony for the creation of an outdoor community space centrally located within its property at 95 County Road.  The area abuts Bowen Hall which houses The Open Door/Ipswich Food Pantry.  The project is partially funded by Ipswich-Rowley Rotary as part of its Centennial anniversary gift to the town.  Several years ago, the club also played a major role in restoring Bowen Hall for the food pantry.    
Ipswich-Rowley Rotarians present for the groundbreaking were President Ann Witzig, Centennial chair Martha Mauser, IHA liaison Chris Doktor, Open Door Director of Operations Jen Perry, and Events chair Lisa Shanko.  Open Door CEO, President and Gloucester Rotarian Julia Hazen LaFontaine also is seen in the photo.    
The following description is excerpted from the Housing Authority press release. 
The new community space will provide an area for children to play, an area for older residents to socialize, and another area for them to intermingle. The purpose of the space is to provide a welcoming and creatively designed area to serve the needs and interests of both young and old, allowing adults to observe -- and even participate in -- activities that capture the imagination of youth.
Central features of the outdoor space will include a children's library, communal seating for young and old, a play space that includes an actual boat, a magnetic sign board; a sign language board, a semi-circular stage surrounded by a natural amphitheatre; community garden beds; and connecting handicapped accessible pathways; and varied landscape plantings.
The project was made possible by a grant from the Commonwealth's Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, as well as by generous contributions from the Institution of Savings and the Ipswich-Rowley Rotary Club.  
Project construction, which began earlier this month, is expected to be completed by the end of August. A dedication ceremony to celebrate its completion is tentatively planned for late September.