Citizens Bank restores local playground
Although a scorching sun created uncomfortable conditions last weekend, more than 50 Citizens Bank colleagues worked tirelessly painting, raking and even assembling new apparatus inside Woodlake Park.
“That kind of volunteerism is in our DNA at Citizens Bank,” said Barbara Cottam, Executive Vice President/R.I. Market Executive/Head of Corporate Affairs, on Monday. “When we put the call out for this playground, people responded in droves and our project was full in minutes.”
Cottam, a long-time Citizens Bank icon, also emphasized during her keynote remarks, “Our colleagues are eager to make an impact in our new community. We expect to take on lots of volunteer projects, so if you see us around in our green t-shirts, be sure to give us a wave.”
She also told Johnston officials, as well as Mayor Joseph Polisena and students from Sarah Dyer Barnes Elementary School, “I am so excited to be here with you and my colleagues from Citizens Bank to celebrate the grand reopening of the Woodlake Park playground.”
Through the generosity of Citizens Bank, which is building a mega office campus in Johnston that is expected to be completed next year and become the workplace of upwards of 3,000 employees, the Woodlake Park playground received a major overhaul and now includes new equipment that the SDB students enjoyed Monday.
“We’re excited to have the students from Barnes Elementary School test out this new playground,” Cottam said. “We know the children will love it because we loved building it.”
Ever since it was announced that Citizens Bank decided on Johnston for the home of its new campus, volunteers have performed many duties in and around the town, cleaning up everything from historical cemeteries to areas like the Woodlake Park playground. Last weekend, however, the bank’s employees did much more than spread cushion-like mulch at the fenced in playground.
Their efforts, in fact, caught the eyes of Johnston Town Councilmen Richard J. DelFino III and Robert J. Civetti, who commented Monday “they even painted the steel support poles at the baseball field as well as the silver fence that surrounds this great playground.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Joseph Polisena said, “I want to thank those employees of Citizens Bank for their generosity of their time, energy and expertise and labor of love over the past few days to assemble this playground. I also must tell you how much I appreciate Mike Knipper, who every time we have asked for assistance he never said no. He never says we’ll see.”
Knipper is the executive vice president/Head of Properties at Citizens Bank, that Polisena said “has become an integral part of our community from their new corporate campus; to helping to clean and maintain our historical cemeteries; assist with cleaning of our rivers; and sponsor sports teams in town.”
Dan Mazzulla, Johnston’s long-time Director of Parks and Recreation, also took part in Monday’s grand reopening of the Woodlake Park playground saying, “We can’t thank Citizens Bank enough for what they continue to do for our town.”
Once the speaking program was complete, Hannah Calabro presented Cottam with a crystal-like softball with the words “Thank You” done in a special color of blue, while Knipper, who also spoke briefly during the ceremony, followed saying, “Now let’s get the kids into this playground.”