By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
NORTHBOROUGH – Northborough Recreation Department Director Allie Lane is excited as plans for the summer are coming together after a long programming slowdown due to COVID-19.
Programs have largely filled up, Assabet Park construction plans are being finalized, and on May 1, town meeting voters approved an effort to build new pickleball courts.
Assabet Park construction to begin in July
Lane is excited for the end result of the planned renovation at Assabet Park located on South Street near the center of town.
Voters at last year’s town meeting approved the project to improve accessibility issues and to bring the park into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The playground area will be open until construction begins in early July. But, once work starts, it will remain closed until crews complete the project in the fall.
“We really want that park to be for ages eight and under,” Lane said. “It will be all playground space.”
There will be a safe area for kids to ride bikes.
Splash Pond to close due to park project
Due to that construction, the town will have to also close the popular Splash Pad next to Assabet Park this summer.
“There is no safe way to open it while construction is going on,” Lane said.
This is the second consecutive summer in which the Splash Pad will be closed after COVID-19 restrictions forced the town to shut it down last year.
Town Meeting to vote on push for pickleball courts
The proposed pickleball courts project at Ellsworth-McAfee Park came to a vote at Town Meeting on May 1, passing at that time.
The town will draw the necessary $290,250 in construction fees from its Community Preservation Act account of tax funds reserved for projects, such as recreation.
Rec Director offers reminders to park visitors
As kids return to local sports fields and recreation areas this summer, Lane has reminders for members for the general public.
“People need to know that they need to leash their dogs and clean up after their dogs,” she said. “We need to make sure the fields are clean for the kids.”
The walking track at Ellsworth is used by all ages, including senior citizens. As such, Lane said bikes, scooters and rollerblades are not allowed on the track to keep all walkers safe.
“It has really become a popular walking track,” Lane said. “I am asking people to use good judgement. I love this community and I want people to be as healthy and happy as they can.”
Pavilion use permits required
A permit issued by the Recreation Department is required for the use of the pavilion at Ellsworth for gatherings or parties.
Last year, the area was not rented out due to COVID. This year, the permit fee for residents is $50 for four hours of use. Non-residents must pay $65 for the same window.