Select Board awards ARPA funds for splash pad in Westborough

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Select Board awards ARPA funds for splash pad in Westborough
Kids play on the playground in Bay State Commons near the future home of a splash pad. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

WESTBOROUGH – The town may soon get a splash pad after the Select Board awarded American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the project during its July 19 meeting.

Westborough is slated to receive $5.7 million in ARPA funds. The splash pad and public safety radio infrastructure are two of the projects that will receive funds.

Other communities in the region already have splash pads, including Marlborough and Northborough.

During a presentation to the Select Board and Advisory Finance Committee on May 31, Recreation Director Jenn Kirkland said the splash pad would be located in Bay State Commons.

“This location we feel is ideal for many reasons,” Kirkland said. “It’s downtown. It’s easy to get to. It’s next to a popular playground, and it would be a good option for kids to use this facility during other small events like concerts or Screen on the Green.”

At that time, she projected that the delivery and installation of the splash pad could cost between $400,000 to $425,000. Kirkland proposed using $275,000 in ARPA funds, $100,000 through the state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant program and $25,000 from the department.

The project returned before the Select Board during its July 19 meeting.

At that time, Kirkland presented conceptual images and a quote from a vendor for about $411,000 for the project.

Ultimately, the Select Board voted to award $275,000 in ARPA funds to the department to build the splash pad.

Public safety radios

ARPA funds were also allocated to fire and police department public radio infrastructure.

As Fire Chief Patrick Purcell explained during the May 31 meeting, the radio infrastructure allows the public safety officials to be able to talk to each other on the radio, receive calls and transmit to a dispatcher.

All of it stems from the Public Safety Dispatch Center.

Purcell said the infrastructure to make that system work is spread throughout four locations in Westborough.

Select Board awards ARPA funds for splash pad in Westborough
Westborough’s public safety radio infrastructure stems from the Public Safety Dispatch Center. (Photo/Caroline Gordon)

The town’s current repeaters and receivers were installed in 2003 using grant funds. Purcell said the end of the support for the equipment was Dec. 31, 2020.

“They don’t make parts for it anymore,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to fail tomorrow and go out of business.”

He explained that the department had “cannibalized” old equipment, meaning that if something broke, they could put it back together.

Purcell, who was making the presentation on behalf of the police department too, said they were proposing to replace the public safety repeaters and receivers, procure system network equipment and add comparators and GPS timing components to facilitate FCC frequency modifications.

The departments were originally estimating about $94,000 when they began getting quotes in 2021, though Purcell noted that the estimate had increased to about $186,000.

In May, the Select Board approved allocating $94,660 in ARPA funds for the project and would vote on any remaining allocation for the project after it was evaluated by the town’s finance team.

The Select Board awarded an additional $91,000 in July.

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