Letter to the editor: Ward Park not right site for Senior Center
To the editor:
As a life-long resident in Marlborough, I became a homeowner in the Ward Park neighborhood a little over 16 years ago. A neighborhood my husband and I chose to live and raise our three children. I find that I cannot allow myself to sit back in regards to the current issue concerning Ward Park. I am frustrated and upset that our city officials plan to use land, which is currently located within Ward Park, for the purpose of constructing a two-story municipal building. How could they seriously be considering using a portion of this historic, downtown park for this purpose, no matter what the intended use for the building?
Let me make it clear that I am not against a new senior center being built in Marlborough. I appreciate the mayor for trying to finally make this long anticipated goal realized. I am against what the mayor is willing to sacrifice in order to make this happen; open green space in a downtown location. Ward Park originated in the early 1920’s with almost 20 acres of land set aside for the community. Numerous portions of this park have already been taken by the City of Marlborough over the years with the construction of Bigelow School and later Granger Boulevard. The small acreage that is left should remain solely as park land and not be allowed to be built upon. The city has plenty of vacant lots and abandoned buildings that could be used for this project instead. The city would be better served if they revisited past options considered for the new center. Any other option would help the city to look more attractive by revitalizing an underused area, rather than building on a well-used, appreciated park.
I am concerned as to why the mayor is being allowed to move forward with this idea which is completely wrong for our community. Besides the Ward Park Neighborhood Associations’ petition, I have yet to hear any other group challenge this decision. I am disappointed in the Parks and Recreation Commission, who easily relinquished the portion of the park in question, thereby allowing this land to be built upon. I am disappointed in the Marlboro Historical Commission, who in all likelihood will be allowing the Artemis Ward Gateway to be moved yet again due to the construction. These organizations should be preserving and protecting our community, not ignoring the further dismantling of the historic Gateway and green space within Ward Park. I am equally disappointed with the city officials, who continue to ignore the concerns of the residents and completely discount the WPNA petition and over 700 petition signers. (www.savewardpark.com)
The mayor keeps touting this as a win-win situation. I am not quite sure who will truly be winning? The community will have a new senior center and “possibly” an improved park (a smaller one at that) but at what cost? I feel it is very unfair that we are now being told that the only way our park has a “chance” of being improved, is upon the condition that a municipal building be allowed to be constructed within the park boundaries. I also feel it is unfair for the senior citizens to have to settle for this long awaited new center that may not be able to fully meet their needs and wishes. The building will be constructed in a tight area bounded by many homes. There is not enough space for either adequate parking or room for further expansion in the future. My fear is that these issues may ultimately result in the decision to use even more of the park land than originally stated either during this construction project and/or in future years to come.
I hope my children won’t be telling their great-grandkids someday about their favorite neighborhood park that sadly no longer exists because the City of Marlborough continually allowed it to be built upon over the years. Is this really the best option we can offer the community? Our city officials need to do the right thing and not build on this treasured park land!
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