Northborough’s Assabet Park project nears completion

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A new play structure stands at Assabet Park in Northborough. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

NORTHBOROUGH – For the past several months, those traveling down South Street in Northborough have eagerly watched as crews have worked on extensive renovations to Assabet Park.

Now, town leaders are anticipating that the park will reopen to the public by Memorial Day.

“The Recreation Department is very excited to have a new facility for the kids in town,” Recreation Director Allie Lane recently told the Community Advocate.

Construction on the upgrades to Assabet Park began last September. The park has been closed since.

This process is replacing the park’s playground, which was over 20-years old and which wasn’t accessible under Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

“It will be fully accessible and welcoming to all,” Lane said of the new structure, adding that it will remain focused on children ages seven and under.

In an email to the Community Advocate in mid-April, Director of Public Works Scott Charpentier separately said that the Assabet Park project was progressing well.

Work had begun with grading and demolition, after which the new playground equipment, which the town already had stored in DPW’s facilities, was installed.

Once the playground equipment was installed, a safe, rubberized play surface was due to be poured.

Charpentier said that while the playground’s scheduled reopening date remained set at Memorial Day, it was a tight schedule.

Strict weather requirements govern when the rubberized surface can be poured, he noted.

As of Monday, some of that surface had been poured, though the process was not complete according to Lane.

The splash pad, which abuts the Assabet Park playground will open as schedule this year, Lane said, anticipating that it would open in mid-June.

Selectmen approve use of ARPA money 

The Board of Selectmen previously released American Rescue Plan Act funds in March to support part of this project, which had been affected by supply chain price hikes in addition to delivery delays.

The selectmen specifically appropriated $20,000 to replace fencing at the park.

“Northborough benefited significantly from the early decision to pre-purchase all of the play equipment,” Charpentier said, noting recent issues.

While the original intent of that approach allowed for the town to select the specific elements and desired colors in the park, Charpentier said Northborough benefited from having the order placed before the substantial material price increases and supply chain shortages that have come in recent weeks and months.

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