A ribbon cutting ceremony was held the morning of July 2 to officially open the playground at the Pappas Recreation Complex. Town Manager Julie Jacobson welcomed the forty or so guests, including a nice contingent of youngsters waiting to inaugurate the new play area.
Jacobson introduced several guest speakers including State Senator, Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury), State Representative Paul Frost (R-Auburn), Friends of the Pappas Recreation Complex President, Jeffrey LaBonte, and Dr. Martha Pappas.
All of the speakers expressed their gratitude to Dr. Arthur and Dr. Martha Pappas for making the playground and the Pappas Recreation Complex a reality. The Pappases offered a $100,000 matching grant program to help the Friends of the Pappas Recreation Complex (FOPRC) reach the approximately $200,000 funding goal to build the playground.
Senator Moore and Representative Frost were able to successfully include $80,000 in the fiscal 2015 state budget specifically for the playground. The Friends group raised an additional $30,000 over nearly two years of fund-raising.
Senator Moore and Representative Frost each presented proclamations to the Pappases in recognition of their commitment to the Complex and to the Town of Auburn. Rep. Frost joked, “I think I’ve presented you [Pappases] with enough of these over the years, you’re going to need a new wall to hang them all.”
In her remarks, Martha Pappas expressed how, when the bids came in higher than expected and several features had to be eliminated from the plans – including the playground – that she and Arthur Pappas knew they ultimately wanted the Complex to contain everything from the original plans.
Arthur and Martha Pappas then took center stage with a giant pair of ceremonial scissors and, along with Ms Jacobson, Mr. LaBonte, Sen. Moore and Rep. Frost, cut the ribbon. A dozen or so children then flooded into the playground, filling the air with squeals and laughing. The noise was a welcome and long-coming addition.