Brownies thanked for lobbying for Paris park fence


PARIS — Tuesday marked the end of a long civics lesson for a local group of Brownies.

The town thanked a local Brownie troop for their work in lobbying for a fence around the playground in Moore Park, a project that earned the girls their Brownie Quest badges.

“You did a really good thing,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Robert Kirchherr told the 10 Brownies assembled at the Town Office on Tuesday. He told them to remember that they could always petition the government when they see a problem.

Last year, the girls were looking for a project for their Take Action Key, a badge necessary for the Brownie Quest award, according to their troop leader, Bobbi Jo Hodgdon. She said they needed to identify a safety issue in the community.

After pitching some ideas, they decided on the playground in Moore Park, which is close to traffic on Route 26. “It kind of snowballed from there,” Hodgdon said.

Each of the girls wrote a letter to Town Manager Phil Tarr, Hodgdon said. She said Tarr suggested they bring the issue to voters at the annual town meeting. In June, the Brownies attended the town meeting to ask the town to put aside $2,857 for the fence. Hodgdon said Brownie rules prevented them from raising the money themselves.

There was some resistance, but in the end voters approved taking the money from the subdivision/recreation assessment fund, where funds were available, to avoid raising taxes.

Bancroft Contracting installed the black vinyl coated chain link fence in early December, Tarr said. Selectmen discussed other fence options, like white vinyl pickets, but the chain link option was less expensive.

Hodgdon said she didn’t know if the girls, who are in third grade, fully understood the effect they’d had with the project, but said they were excited when they saw the fence had been built in December.

“It’s been a great civics lesson for them,” Hodgdon said. “I think they should all be really proud of themselves.”

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