The Coughlin Controversy: Town Manager, Council President Lead Strong Park Renovation Effort

The creation of the all-volunteer Winthrop Parks Committee arguably has been one of the crowning achievements of Council President Peter Gill’s administration. The formation of the committee was his idea and the tremendous improvements at Pico Park brightened the whole neighborhood, especially the children who are able to use the park for recreation.

Town Manager James McKenna has been another guiding light for our parks and playgrounds, making sure the renovations and equipment installations at our parks were done well and with the highest safety standards in mind for our children. McKenna has also been a valuable source of information for residents wanting to know what improvements were being made — and one of his recent town manager’s blogs offered a thorough explanation of the improvements planned for Coughlin Park. The town manager has also made frequent reference to the parks in his town manager reports to the Council. McKenna also sent in his ‘A’ team of Department of Public Works Director Steve Calla — whose efforts in beautifying this town have been worthy of much-deserved commendation from the Town Council — along with Parks and Recreation Director Sean Driscoll, whose department and programs have made great use of the parks, bringing enjoyment to so many of our youngsters all year round.

That’s why it was surprising to see Dawn Manning speaking out at last Town Council meeting about an apparent disagreement with the direction of the Parks Committee, for which she herself had made so many great contributions, both in volunteer work and fundraising. We’re still not sure why there is controversy about Coughlin Park, but we intend to sit down with Dawn Manning this week and learn more about her opinions.

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