New Balance funding two new playgrounds


NORWAY – New Balance wants to give some of Maine’s kids a better place to play.

The athletic shoe maker said recently that four Maine communities, including Norway and Paris as well as two communities in Massachusetts, will be the beneficiaries of new playgrounds funded by the New Balance Foundation.

The playgrounds will be installed this year as a gift to the communities to celebrate the company’s centennial year. A Massachusetts-based firm is designing the playgrounds.

The New Balance Foundation, funded by New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., supports community projects and charitable organizations.

In Norway, a playground will be built at Lake Pennasseewassee Park, which is frequently used by summer day camps. In Paris a playground will be built in Moore Park, which hosts various children’s activities in the summer.

Playgrounds also will be installed in Norridgewock and Skowhegan. In addition, playgrounds will be funded in the Massachusetts communities of Brighton and Lawrence.

New Balance said in a statement that all of the communities were chosen because they “are home to (New Balance) facilities and have contributed to its success over the years.”

The company’s factory is located on Cottage Street in Norway. Although Paris does not have a New Balance facility, many company employees live there.

Debra Partridge, Norway’s recreation director, said Friday that community volunteers are needed to help install the playground structures on May 18.

She asked people who are interested to phone her at the town office at 743-6651.

Partridge said New Balance contacted her about a month ago to propose the project. The park is being prepped now for the new playground equipment, she said.

“The town of Norway is thrilled over the donation from the New Balance Foundation,” she said. “New Balance has been a generous corporate citizen for the whole area. The playground is going to be awesome and a huge addition to Lake Pennasseewassee Park.”

Currently, the park contains only two swing sets and a horizontal ladder. The new playground will include separate structures for children ages 2 to 5 and ages 6 to 12.

“There will be a nice variety of physical activity and creativity,” said Partridge. “The kids are going to be thrilled.”