By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
NORTHBOROUGH – Construction on upgrades to Assabet Park will begin on Sept. 20.
Northborough Director of Public Works Scott Charpentier announced that news during a Parks & Recreation Commission meeting on Sept. 7, saying that the construction contract had been awarded.
“After Sept. 20, the playground will be closed,” Charpentier said. “It will be under the control of the contractor.”
The Assabet Park playground is over 20 years old, Recreation Director Allison Lane noted in an email to the Community Advocate.
“It is not ADA accessible, and we decided that we need to have one put in that is user-friendly for everyone,” Lane said.
Between Community Preservation Committee allocations and town funding, Northborough raised money to build a new playground.
The project will soon begin with site work, which Charpentier said will include grading and demolition. Then, the new play equipment will be installed. The town already has this equipment and has it stored in the DPW’s facilities.
After the equipment is installed, a safe, rubberized play surface will be poured.
Charpentier hopes that the rubberized play surface will be poured this year, though he added that’s dependent on the weather.
Pickleball court moves forward
Beyond Assabet Park, Northborough is also moving forward with work on six new pickleball courts at Ellsworth McAfee Park.
Town Meeting voters supported an article earlier this year to use Community Preservation Act funds to build the pickleball courts.
Charpentier said the funds became available July 1.
Since then, the town has used a landscape architect to survey the land. Charpentier said that process has since been completed.
“We’re now in the conceptual layout phase,” he said.
According to draft plans that Lane shared with the Community Advocate, the six pickleball courts would be located southwest of the park’s parking lot along South Street.
Lane told the Community Advocate that local pickleball players have been playing outside of Northborough for years.
“We’ve been trying to find a location and money in order to build some outdoor courts,” Lane said.
Charpentier said some things still need to be examined, such as the sizing of the facility and its positioning to make sure that the courts are ADA accessible. The town will also work with landscape architects to help maintain existing vegetation in the area.
Charpentier said the town has also needed to help localize the work on the courts “so that, while the construction occurs next spring, it does not impede on the use of the facility.”
According to Charpentier, the goal is to move forward with the design of the courts this fall, bid the project over the winter, and begin construction in the spring.
“Both Scott and I are very excited for both projects,” Lane said. “We are very invested in Northborough and are committed to making the parks the best in the area.”