WESTPORT, Conn. – Eight days after workers broke ground at Long Lots School in Westport, a new playground in honor of Sandy Hook shooting victim Dylan Hockley was officially opened on Saturday.
Hockley’s parents, Ian and Nicole, and their son, Jake, were among the guests at the dedication ceremony.
“It’s amazing,’’ said Westport Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kepchar. “If you were here a week ago, it was just open ground.”
The playground was the fourth of 26 to be built in communities affected by Sandy Hook in memory of one of the Sandy Hook victims. The playgrounds are being built through The Sandy Ground: Where Angels Play project, an initiative created by the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association.
All 26 playgrounds are scheduled to be built by December. Playgrounds are also planned for Norwalk and Fairfield. One in Stratford was dedicated Saturday, too.
The playground featured swings, sliding boards, climbing poles and other apparatus for the children to enjoy. “Dylan would’ve loved this place,’’ his father said. “Purple was his favorite color.”
Before the official unveiling at noon, anxious kids eagerly waited behind tape to enjoy the playground. After several short speeches, Dylan’s grandparents cut the ribbon to officially open the new play space as Ian and Nicole unveiled a plaque with their son’s picture.
“It’s a sad thing, but it’s a tribute to those who died that they will always be remembered,’’ Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff.
The playground was built with support from volunteers from Westport firefighters, police officers and EMS personnel; members of the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association; Giordano Construction; Long Lot PTA members and Westport teachers and the Hockley family. The Sunrise Rotary of Westport contributed $2,600 to the fund.
A.J. Penna & Son, Kowasky Brothers Inc. and Gault Energy donated equipment, personnel and materials.
“It’s a blessing to be involved in a project of this magnitude,’’ Kepchar said. “It’s the community coming together to do something good. Everybody likes to do something good.”
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