Chincoteague Council Names Smith Street Park ‘The Brianna Kindness Park’

The Team Brianna Town Park Fundraiser logo. Submitted photo.

By Carol Vaughn —

The Chincoteague Town Council voted at its Jan. 21 meeting to name a new park being constructed on Smith Street “The Brianna Kindness Park,” named after Brianna Jade Merritt, who died in October 2019 at age 11 after a three-year battle with leukemia.
Brianna toward the end of her life expressed the wish that everyone should do some act of kindness each day.
The council voted unanimously to proceed with completing the Smith Street park project using $140,000 from the playground equipment fund and paying for the balance of the project with money from the beach replenishment, recreation and tourism Fund.
Resident David Landsberger in the Jan.12 meeting of the budget and personnel committee offered to donate $80,000 toward the cost of playground equipment and $25,000 toward construction of a pavilion on a lot at the corner of Smith and School streets, which he offered to donate to the town on condition improvements to the lot are completed within an agreed upon time frame. The lot is assessed at $29,000.
The amount needed to complete the park is $444,672, according to a budget presented to the committee. Around $95,000 has been spent to date, according to the budget.
“I can’t wait to see it done,” said Councilwoman Denise Bowden, calling Brianna “a bright light for all of us.”
A group raising funds for the playground has raised $40,000 to date, with additional fundraising efforts in the works, Mayor J. Arthur Leonard said.
The Facebook group Brianna’s Wish and the website have information about fundraising efforts.
COVID-19 Update
Chincoteague has had 122 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, including two since Jan. 18, according to Bryan Rush, emergency management coordinator.
“The phase 1a vaccine strategy went very well,” Rush said, adding the town is working with the health department to get phase 1b vaccinations underway.
“Unfortunately, the doses for the 1b vaccination, the shipments have been very slow and have not been a lot,” he said.
The town had planned to begin vaccinating essential personnel — including police officers, firefighters, water department employees, and elected officials — last week, but has not been able to due to lack of vaccine supply.
The town is planning for future mass vaccinations, likely no sooner than May.
“That’s still in its infancy,” Rush said, noting some of his staff are being trained through the health department to give vaccinations, “so we can be ready if and when we want to move to the next step.”
Raises for Part-time Employees
The council approved a 2.5% raise for all part-time employees, matching the raise given previously to full-time employees.

Previous articleSUBSTITUTE TRUSTEE’S SALE 505 Arnies Loop, Cape Charles, VA 1.29, 2.5, 2.12, 2.19
Next articleGovernor Addresses Vaccine Supply, Virginia to Get 16% More Doses