POTSDAM — Like a mother doting over her child, Rosemarie Rivezzi paced through the winds of a blustery Wednesday afternoon, looking over the recently completed Ives Park play area that was her brainchild in 2016.
“It looks like it has always been here,” she said, stepping back to look at the space with a smile. “I’m always going to be looking, like there are some repairs we need to take care of here. I’m looking forward to just even another year or two where these things will grow bigger and kind of define the space a little bit more.”
Ms. Rivezzi, a town councilwoman, was speaking of the natural aspects of the play area: the shrubs and grasses that climb the mound of earth that is surrounded with slides, a rock wall and staircase, a rope climbing wall and other children’s play obstacles.
“It will always be my little space and I’ll always keep my eye on it and hope that it will be here for a long time,” she said. “Like I said, it will evolve.”
But evolve it already has, starting with the love and admiration she had for her mother-in-law, Kathryn “Kay” I. Trithart, who died in 2016, when Ms. Rivezzi took the idea to the Village Board.
Ms. Rivezzi and her husband, David I. Trithart, used some of the money left behind by Mrs. Trithart to create the play area, known as Kay’s Play Space.
Creating the play area would have been impossible, Ms. Rivezzi said, without the help of her husband and son, Mrs. Tritharts’s grandson, Will Trithart. Then there were the many friends, neighbors, local businesses and, in some instances, perfect strangers who came along and helped her on the project.
“It stretched the gift, making it possible,” she said. “Otherwise it would have cost three times as much.”
Ms. Rivezzi was excited to show off the different aspects of the play area, saying it was scaled back from where she started but with room to still expand.
“We have some other ideas,” she said. “We would like to do some interactive panels along the sidewalk. If some local artist could design something that might be interactive in some nature for the kids or even be artistic or informative, I’m thinking some clever artist can come up with some clever ideas.”
The library is going to also install a free little library.
In the end, her goal of memorializing her mother-in-law was fulfilled.
“You know what I think about?” Ms. Rivezzi asked. “If Kay were still alive, she couldn’t see very well, she would have loved to be sitting here and just listening to these kids playing and having a great time. She would have just loved it.
“She lived for a while with David’s dad down in Florida in a closed community. Kids weren’t allowed to live there but they could visit grandmas and grandpas there and, when we got them back to Potsdam, we went out to dinner with her and she said, ‘it is so nice to look up and not just see all white heads.’” Ms. Rivezzi smiled at the recollection. But then again, she smiled at the whole concept, beginning with her mother-in-law right up to the blustery Wednesday, when she held the newly completed metal sign, memorializing Mrs. Trithart.
“She loved having multi-generational and young people around her,” Ms. Rivezzi said. “It just gave her a lot of joy and she loved hearing kids playing outside and that sort of thing. I just know that this would have made her very happy. So because of her, it’s possible, her legacy to us.”