By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Employees from Lowe’s of Milford have built West Haven its first gaga pit in the heart of Painter Park.
For those who don’t know, gaga is a form of dodgeball played in an octagon-shaped structure, or pit.
To accommodate the popular children’s game, a group of Lowe’s volunteers recently erected a gaga pit, measuring 20 feet long, 20 feet wide and 4 feet high, with a way for climbing in and out, said city project coordinator Tom Conroy, acting director of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Lowe’s constructed the wooden gaga pit, which includes a mulch base, next to the basketball court behind the Noyes Field dugout, where shade is provided, Conroy said.
The home improvement store donated the labor and materials for the project, which took two weeks to complete, he said.
According to Conroy, Lowe’s called him over the summer to see if the city had any projects for its volunteer program.
“Kids from the Summer Adventure Camp had visited a place where they had a gaga pit and loved it and asked if we could get one,” Conroy said. “So when Lowe’s came along, we thought this was a great idea.”
The game combines dodging, striking, running and jumping. Players hit the ball at each other with their hands and are eliminated if the ball strikes them on or below the waist. The last player to not get hit by the ball is the winner.
Lowe’s, headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina, is no stranger to giving back to West Haven.
Three years ago, employees from four area Lowe’s stores — Derby, Milford, New Haven and Orange — volunteered their time to renovate the Painter Park wooden playground on Kelsey Avenue.
For five weeks, starting Aug. 26, 2016, dozens of Lowe’s employees painstakingly restored the castle-themed playscape for their annual “Lowe’s Heroes” community service project.
On Oct. 15, 2016, West Haven officials dedicated the refurbished “Maureen’s Dream” playground in honor of park neighbor and former city schoolteacher Maureen Blake.