Four Hearts Foundation, a 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization founded by Kateri Chappell Buerman and Laurel Handel Polselli, is on a mission to rebuild the Turnpike Avenue Playground in Portsmouth.  

Polselli noted that “Rebuilding the playground is about giving our children and  community a place to play, grow and come together”. Many Portsmouth residents may  recall the wooden castle playground that used to stand on Turnpike Avenue. Many  residents have responded by sharing the wonderful memories they had here.

“Our goal  is to bring this back to Portsmouth and create a place where our children and  community members can create their own wonderful memories,” Buerman adds. The  duo states that the specifically added castle type peaks to the design to bring back a  little of that nostalgic playground we all loved. That playground was built as a labor of  love by town and community members… We are doing the same here, version 2.0. And  that is pretty special.” Buerman states. 

Buerman and Polselli have been working directly with Meghan O’Brien from O’Brien and  Sons in order to design their version of a bigger, better, safer and all inclusive of ages  and ability playground.  

Polselli and Buerman says that they met with town officials, city council members, the Parks and Recreation department and Public Works at the playground, in order to learn their limitations and the regulations of  the playground in terms of layout and safety protocols. After learning they had support  from the town, Four Hearts Foundation was born. Maybe you guessed it, the four hearts  represent their four children.  

Keeping in mind the current footprint they have to work within, the mothers say that they drew up a specific wishlist of features and items to include, after visiting nearly every playground in  the state and then some. Some of the wish list includes: having the playground fully fenced in, a zip line, track, musical elements, age appropriate play areas (challenging  and fun), handicap accessible swings and ramps. Even the colors of the playground are thoughtfully being chosen.  

They chose to have a soft/spongy ground as opposed to mulch. Mulch is messy, floods  and requires maintenance. Their goal is to use the best materials in order to keep  maintenance down.  

“We hope to have money left over in order to improve the t-ball field. We imagine  benches, a new shed for storage and added shade and seating for the parents and  onlookers. This is a place for all of Portsmouth, no matter your age, to come and enjoy.”  Polselli adds. 

Upon receiving unanimous approval from the town hall council on Monday, April 25th,  they are officially ready to hit the ground running. The duo state they are so thankful for any way you are able to donate or contribute. This playground will be entirely built on  donations and every little bit counts, says Polselli and Buerman!  


Four Hearts Foundation Events and Fundraisers: 

OPEN PLAY at The Common Fence Community Center, ages 0-5, Wednesdays  through May, 10:15am-noon, $5 entry.  

SHOP FOR A CAUSE, May 12th, 5pm-8pm (free entry) at The Newport Car Museum.  Raffles, live music, complimentary food and beverages. The museum and Newport  Indoor Golf will be open to enjoy! 

GIGGLES FOR LITTLES Comedy Show, at The Common Fence Community Center {June 11th, details to be announced}  


Follow Four Hearts Foundation on Instagram and Facebook for updates – @FourHearts_Foundation.

For questions, comments or to reach out in order to get involved or volunteer, email

Ryan Belmore

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  He has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the boards of Fort Adams Trust, Lucy's Hearth, and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

In 2020, he was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.

He is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, he spent 39 years living in Rhode Island before recently moving to Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife and two rescue dogs. He still considers Rhode Island home, and visits at least once a month.