By Rosemary Rimkus, Hudson Columnist
HUDSON – The Assabet Valley Rail Trail, one of Hudson’s out-of-door enhancements, has been enriched with the addition of eight new Memorial benches.
According to Kali Coughlan, program coordinator of the Hudson Health Department’s Mass in Motion Program, when the call went out in the spring to help fund installation costs, “the donor spots were filled within 48 hours.”
Mass in Motion partnered with the Hudson Recreation Department, and installations were made by Hudson Public Works Department. There are now 18 benches installed on the trail according to Josh Aponte of the Recreation Department .
“Seating on the Rail Trail was fairly limited, and the goal of this project was to expand the seating options so those who need to rest during a walk, run or bike ride have an option to do so about every half mile,” said Coughlan.
Plaques on the eight new benches are in honor or in memory of the Davis/Rigden family, Robert A. Weston III, Michael Cardinale, Hudson Unified Sports, Edie and Lincoln Yates, Bob and Tina Colleton, John R. Drummey and Francis J. Chiravalloti.
The bench honoring the memory of Bob and Tina Colleton was provided by their grandchildren, Braydon, Christina, Ethan, Nickolas and Zayne. Bob, a Hudson native, was founder and owner of Countryside Motors. His daughter, Angela Trottier, said she enjoyed walks with her Dad along the trail.
The bench memorializing John R. Drummey was donated by his son, Jack Drummey. John was the founder of Hudson Pest Exterminators Co., which is now owned by Jack. An Army veteran, he died in 1986 and is survived by his wife, Kay, his sons, Jack, Tim and Michael and his daughter, Katie Wood, as well as seven grandchildren and a newborn great-granddaughter. His daughter Katie said the Rail Trail is a great addition to the town, “as it gets people out for exercise and to enjoy Hudson.”
Family and friends donated the bench in memory of Francis “Frank” Chiaravalotti, a Hudson native and lifelong resident. A retired employee of the Entwistle Co., Frank died on Feb. 10, 2016 after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, two daughters, Michelle Chaves and Marie Fisher, and several grandchildren. His wife said they would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Nov. 2021.
Kali Coughlan said each of the benches and plaques cost $1,000, half of which was paid by the Mass In Motion Program. Donors foot the bill for the other $500. “Hopefully, with ample seating along the Trail, people will get an opportunity to explore parts of the trail they may have never been able to,” Coughlan continued.
Director of Hudson Recreation Steve Santos said he is grateful for the partnership with Mass in Motion.
“It has been instrumental in adding valuable recreation assets to our community, including the purchase and replacement of some weathered Pickleball nets for use at the Riverside Park courts,” he said.
Mass in Motion has worked with other agencies in support of residents getting active, also partnering with the Hudson Public Library. Under the “Library of Things” collection, the partnership has provided six pairs of trekking poles, eight adult and eight youth pairs of snowshoes, all of which may be borrowed by library card owners.
Hudson Public Library director Aileen Sanchez-Himes said the partnership with Mass in Motion offered the purchase of items beyond traditional print resources.
“This contributes to the health and wellness of Hudson and neighboring communities,” she continued.
Trekking poles are also available to borrow, and snowshoes will be available in November. The library showcased the equipment at a recent Hudson Farmers Market on Aug. 17.
Mass in Motion is a regional initiative “to facilitate opportunities for people who live, work and play in Hudson, Framingham, Marlborough and Northborough, to engage in healthy eating and active living.”
Hudson Health Department is the lead agency for this initiative, which is funded through a grant from the Mass. Department of Health.
The Select Board formally accepted these donations back in July.
“Thank you very much,” Select Board chair Scott Duplisea told donors at that time.