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Letter: Portsmouth playground to be bigger, better, safer, inclusive of all ages and all abilities



Here is the letter as submitted by Kateri Chappell Buerman.

“My name is Kateri Chappell Buerman, one of the Founders of the Four Hearts Foundation. Our mission is to rebuild the Portsmouth Community Playground on Turnpike Avenue to be bigger, better, safer and inclusive of all ages and all abilities. The structure that is there currently is lack-luster and does not serve the needs of our community.”

“Years ago in this spot, stood a really cool and exciting wooden playground. That playground was built by a total act of love by the community members. Money was raised by the town residents and town businesses donated their resources and time to get it built. Sadly, time was not kind to the wood, and it had to be taken down. We have seen that same level of community support and we are so thankful for it.”

“In April of 2022 we were granted approval to use this site from the Town Council with a unanimous vote. We have an approved MOU with the town; however, the funds will be privately raised. Since receiving our 501(c)3 last April we have raised $550,000 organically through donations, grants and fundraisers. Our favorite has been two local groups of kids running lemonade stands and together they made $2,200!! We love the level of community involvement we have witnessed.”

“Our design was an act of love and created after speaking to principals, doctors, children, medical professionals and more. From structures for 0–5-year-olds and 5–12-year-olds to handicap swings and structures. We have hand bikes and eye level structures for children in wheelchairs or who struggle leaving the ground. We have friendship swings that help children who struggle with eye contact while also enjoying a swing. We have many other small components like that — that are small subtle ways for kids to work on what they need to, while having fun. We have included a track out of recycled rubber flooring to work on healthy habits too! Lastly, we have a ‘pour in place’ soft flooring that helps decrease injury, increase the amount you can use (weather wise) and of course it is easier to push a wheelchair and or stroller. We think it’s a really great design. A video of the playground can be viewed here: Password: shapedbyplay

“To date, we have written a check to the town for $390,000 and for the certified builder that costs $141,000. What we are working on now is the soft recycled rubber flooring that costs $215,000. Our goal is for a Spring 2024 build, but we need help! We encourage anyone who is passionate about play to donate. We encourage ANY amount, as we have proven it all adds up and it all matters!”

“Play is so important for children’s social, physical and emotional development and this new playground will be a beacon of hope for all children. I believe in this project and believe there is no greater gift to disabled children than providing a place where their needs have been considered and met. Furthermore, for able bodied children: I believe there is no better gift than teaching them acceptance and Inclusion. We put so much love, thought and effort into this playground design and we need the community’s help to fix it.”

“Should you like to donate to our cause. Our EIN is 88-1227879. Our PayPal is on our website We also accept checks and prefer them due to PayPal taking a small amount! Checks can be made out to Four Hearts Foundation and mailed to P.O. BOX 912! Kateri Chappell Buerman can be reached at”

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