By Liz Ricketson, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – City officials gathered at the WWII Memorial Beach Sept. 13 to celebrate a grant that will pay for renovations and improvements at the beach.
Last year the city was awarded a $400,000 Parklands Acquisition and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant from the state's executive office of energy and environmental affairs.
At the ceremony officials lauded the efforts of Priscilla Ryder, the city's conservation officer for her work in writing the grant and Mayor Arthur Vigeant, who supported the project when he was president of the city council.
Bob Kays, the chair of the Recreation Commission, noted that it was “an exciting day that had been two years in the works.”
“This beach hasn's been touched in nearly 50 years, getting to the beach was nasty and it wasn's good for families trying to get here,” he said. “It needed a big fix.”
“The beach needed work and it was well overdue,” Vigeant added. “It was a forgotten gem.”
According to the mayor's office, the project will include adding a playground and basketball court, improved beach access via a path so residents can avoid the current steep and bumpy trail, a handicap accessible parking area near the beach, and a resurfaced parking lot. New additions will include new picnic areas and a one-third mile walking path loop along the top of the dam and along the water's edge.
A site plan for the renovations was done by landscape architect John Kissida of CDM. The contract has been awarded to Argus Construction Corp. of Bedford. The majority of the work will be completed this fall, with final landscaping and finishing touches expected to be completed in time for the beach to reopen for the summer of 2014.
“This will be a facelift for the jewel of the city,” Ryder said.